Thousands of city workers go on strike in Los Angeles over 'unfair' labour practices

Mayor insists city 'is not going to shut down'

Los Angeles hotel workers have had staggered strikes throughout the summer. AFP
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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has insisted the city will not shut down after thousands of workers began a 24-hour strike over what they say are unfair labour practices.

Sanitation workers, heavy-duty mechanics, traffic officers, engineers and others made up the 11,000 city workers who went on strike, Los Angeles labour union SEIU 721 said. The first picket line was set up at 4am at Los Angeles International Airport, commonly known as LAX.

A picket line was also scheduled to be set up at Los Angeles City Hall.

SEIU 721 said its members were striking after the city government failed to negotiate in good faith and about unfair labour practices.

Ms Bass said her office would continue to bargain with SEIU 721.

“The city of Los Angeles is not going to shut down,” she said in a statement.

“My office is implementing a plan ensuring no public safety or housing and homelessness emergency operations are impacted by this action.”

The mayor added that emergency police and fire department services would not be affected by the strike, nor would services catering to the city's homeless population.

Some services will be hit, however. Rubbish collection days will be staggered and animal shelters will be closed. Parking enforcement and traffic operations may also be affected.

Ms Bass's office also advised travellers to allow for extra time when going into and out of LAX.

An LAX representative said the airport would work to ensure operations are not severely affected by the strikes, AP reported.

The strike by the LA city workers is the latest major labour development to occur in the city in recent months. Hollywood writers have been striking since May, and they were joined by the actors' union last month.

Thousands of hotel workers have also had staggered strikes over the summer. California officials also backed a letter signed by the Unite Here Local 11 hospitality union urging Taylor Swift to cancel her LA shows this week in solidarity with the strikers.

Updated: August 09, 2023, 5:05 AM