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In Nearly Unanimous Vote, LA County’s 55,000 Workers Authorize Union To Call A Strike

A group of peope stand behind the podium. One person is at the mic speaking. The others are behind her holding signs with statements such as "I am ULP strike ready."
Ileana Meza, SEIU 721's bargaining policy committee chair, speaks at a press conference in Los Angeles on May 6, 2022.
(Phoenix Tso
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Los Angeles County workers in SEIU 721 have voted to approve the union to call a strike.

The union said in a press conference Friday that the vote passed with an overwhelming support of 98%.

“This behavior has been a slap in the face of frontline workers,” said Ileana Meza, who chairs the bargaining committee. “Our members are fed up and they’re frustrated.

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Meza said it “pains us because we love the community that we serve.” But if the County returns to the table next week with “bad faith negotiations,” she said the union “will call a strike.”

The decision comes at a time when thousands of workers have tried to demand better wages and working conditions.

The union represents roughly 55,000 L.A. County employees who work in a variety of fields, including healthcare, social services and public works.

In a statement to LAist, the County said “negotiations are ongoing."

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"The County remains hopeful of reaching a fair and fiscally responsible contract with our labor partners," the statement read. "Today’s authorization vote by SEIU is not a strike and services to the public are continuing without interruption."

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Updated May 6, 2022 at 2:02 PM PDT
This story was updated to include a statement from the County.