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Photos: Protesters At LAX Labor March Get Arrested, Snarl Holiday Traffic

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Thirteen protesters affiliated with labor groups were arrested today at a protest that snarled traffic at LAX on one of the busiest days of the year.

The protest was organized by Service Employees International Union, and it started around noon. Traffic was diverted around the protest, which went down Century Boulevard, which (predictably) pissed off some travelers. At around 1:15 pm, protesters were given an order to disperse. Most protesters disperse, but those who lingered were arrested, according to the Los Angeles Times.

We're a little confused about the politics behind the protest.

Organizers with the SEIU handed out fliers at the protest, and representatives with the union told City News Service that 400 airport workers were left without a contract when the contractor Aviation Safeguards terminated its agreement with the SEIU and withdrew health insurance for its workers. Mike Garcia, president of SEIU United Service Workers West, told CNS, "Things at the airport have gotten out of control, and workers are ready to take action."

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SEIU writes on its website:

Earlier this year, AVSG walked away from its contract with over 400 LAX workers. Subsequently, AVSG failed to comply with the City’s Living Wage Ordinance, refused to meet with the National Mediation Board, refused to honor contractual terms, and refused to meet with the union to resolve any disputes. Earlier this year, AVSG stopped paying into the health care trust fund for workers’ health care at LAX, effectively cutting off affordable healthcare for AVSG employees and their families. The trust estimates AVSG owes over $4.0M and counting for workers’ health care.

But then CNS reports that the workers affected by that contract aren't even affiliated with the SEIU any more. Andres Cazares, an Aviation Safeguards employee since 1993, said most of the protesters "will not even be LAX workers. They don't work here and they don't know our company."The protest has been dispersed, though we can't promise you won't run into traffic on your way to LAX anyway...

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