LA County Workers Took To The Streets To Demand Better Wages And Working Conditions
With their labor contract due to expire at midnight, a large crowd of L.A. County employees took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Thursday to demand better wages, benefits and more.
In a statement, the Service Employees International Union Local 721 called the rally at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration the “largest mobilization in the union’s history.”
Thousands of LA County workers with SEIU 721 are marching and rallying downtown in the largest mobilization in the union’s history. ⁰— SEIU 721 (@SEIU721) March 31, 2022
We're here to tell the County: If you continue to disrespect us — the frontline of the pandemic — WE'RE READY TO STRIKE! pic.twitter.com/VhwLqta2e5
SEIU Local 721 represents roughly 55,000 county employees in jobs ranging from custodial services to healthcare to public safety.
The union described the county's current contract proposals as "insulting" and a "'slap in the face' to those manning the frontlines of the COVID pandemic.” It also accuses county officials of relying too heavily on private companies to fill gaps in staffing.
The office of L.A. County Chief Executive said in a statement that the they are engaged in “good faith negotiations” with the union.
“We are hopeful that we will reach agreement soon on a fair contract that is fiscally responsible and also recognizes the important contributions of our valued employees,” the statement said. “We fully support workers’ rights to legally organize and advocate for wages and working conditions … we believe both sides are united in our dedication to serving the people of Los Angeles County.”
An SEIU spokesperson said members will continue to work under the terms of the expired contract. A strike authorization vote is expected in the coming weeks.
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