Thousands of Los Angeles city employees walked off the job Tuesday for a 24-hour strike to push for better wages and working conditions.
The strike includes over 11,000 workers from sanitation, engineering and mechanics. The employees are expected to picket in front of City Hall and Los Angeles International Airport.
Service Employees International Union Local 721, which organized the strike, said the city has not negotiated in good faith during contract talks and has tried to restrict worker organization.
“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,” the local’s president, David Green, told The Washington Post.
According to the union, the city also failed to fill important vacancies and sent negotiators to the table who did not have the authorization to approve decisions.
From the city’s side, Mayor Karen Bass said, “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.”
The union and the city plan to return to the bargaining table next week to hammer out a contract.
The strike comes during a historic labor uprising in Los Angeles. On top of city and hotel workers, writers and actors are picketing, effectively shutting down film and TV production and costing the industry billions.