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City Workers Take Activism to the Streets, City Councilmember Homes

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One day before Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is set announce his budget for the next fiscal year (it begins in July), city trash workers from SEIU Local 721 and the Coalition of LA City Unions hit the streets with a campaign protesting worker layoffs and furloughs and cuts to programs and services.

"Don't Give Up on LA, Mr. Mayor," advertising space on some city trash trucks read today. "The budget plan would hurt our neighborhoods. City workers want to keepLAstrong.com, TEXT STRONGLA to 69866."

City management were able to stop some of the trucks before leaving fleet yards this morning--having the activist message on city property could be quite a confusing juxtaposition--but some still made it out onto the streets, according to Michael Soller, a spokesman for SEIU Local 721. The space is usually occupied for approved city public service ads.

Workers also hung "trash hangers" on garbage cans across the city, including at the homes of Councilmen Jose Huizar and Bill Rosendahl, where trash was picked up today.

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On Friday, Council President Eric Garcetti introduced a motion to study the union's plan to save the city budget. SEIU Local 721 represents around 10,000 civilian city workers.

"We're not saying it's going to be easy, but we put a lot of work into that," explained Soller, who was concerned that the Mayor's budget tomorrow will be more of the same, such as money-saving solutions like furloughs, pay cuts and layoffs. "There are solutions and there are alternatives to cutting parks and programs."