City of Los Angeles workers are joining the hotel employees, Hollywood actors and TV and movie writers who have walked off their jobs this summer.

Thousands of them plan to strike Tuesday, potentially grinding municipal operations to a halt for 24 hours and adding to the flurry of organized labor activity across the city and country.

Hollywood Strikes

A tour bus passes a picket sign outside Paramount Studios on July 26 in Los Angeles. Los Angeles city employees have pledged to hold a one-day strike on Tuesday. Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

More than 11,000 Los Angeles city employees will participate in the one-day strike, including sanitation workers, Los Angeles International Airport employees and street services, said SEIU Local 721, a union that represents more than 98,000 county and city workers across Southern California.

“We’re going to shut down the city of Los Angeles,” said David Green, SEIU Local 721 executive director and president. “The message we’re sending is that our workers are just fed up. They’ve reached a breaking point. And we need these folks in the city to come back to the table for the good of the city.”

It’s the first strike of its kind for Local 721 in more than 40 years, and comes as hundreds of thousands of workers across various sectors recently have organized strikes, or narrowly avoided them.

A historic double strike by actors and writers effectively shut down Hollywood beginning last month, with as many as 170,000 actors and 12,500 writers on picket lines. Thousands of hotel housekeepers, receptionists and cooks in Los Angeles held a strike for three days in early July over wages and benefits – and have intermittently resumed striking since.


Beyond Los Angeles, United Parcel Service employees, represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, teetered on the brink of a potentially devastating nationwide strike before a deal with the company was reached late last month. Autoworkers, baristas and more have gone on strike, too – or threatened to. As many as 322,000 U.S. workers have gone on strike so far this year.

Tuesday’s strike in Los Angeles comes after “bad faith bargaining” by city administrators, Green said, adding that the city has failed to address issues such as workers’ resources and major vacancies in crucial roles. He said city officials sent administrators to the bargaining table who don’t have the authorization needed to approve decisions.

“Sanitation alone has over 900 vacancies,” Green said. “Unfortunately, some of the people that work in City Hall are these out-of-touch administrators. …And we’ve been sounding the alarm for years. So we’re saying, come back to the table.”

Mayor Karen Bass (D) said Saturday that the city is committed to ensuring a fair contract for its workers.

“City workers are vital to the function of services for millions of Angelenos every day and to our local economy. They deserve fair contracts and we have been bargaining in good faith with SEIU 721 since January,” Bass said. “The City will always be available to make progress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of Los Angeles did not return requests for comment regarding the possible disruptions to their operations that the strike could cause.

The union plans to meet the city administrators at the bargaining table next week, Green said.

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