Fix LA Clean-up Kicks Off First Day of City Contract Bargaining

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Elected members of SEIU Local 721 and five additional unions representing a wide range of city workers–from librarians to sanitation truck drivers to crossing guards–took a lunch break from bargaining a new contract today to help clergy and community stakeholders clean one of the city’s many trash-strewn alleys.

Their message to Mayor Garcetti and the City Council: Stop corporate giveaways and get back taxpayer revenue from Wall Street to restore vital City services that Angelenos need.

Jake Miller crop.jpg“City workers are the key to a clean, healthy, and safe Los Angeles. But unless the City chooses to fix our street instead of funding Wall Street, our efforts will fall short.”-Jake Miller, LA City Animal Care Technician and member of the SEIU 721 Bargaining Team

The cleanup took place at 101st and San Pedro Streets. The city has dramatically cut back its practice of removing debris from alleys and providing many other services to save money. The cuts have drastically reduced middle-class jobs in LA. That’s why the SEIU 721 and the City Coalition of Unions are drafting bargaining proposals with Fix LA–a growing coalition of community groups, faith-based organizations and working people–and bringing neighborhood stakeholders with them to the table.

At the clean-up, SEIU 721 members and other volunteers wore masks, gloves and coveralls bearing the slogan “We’re Bargaining to Fix LA.” Organizations represented included he Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment, AFSCME Joint Council 36, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Teamsters Local 911, and the Community Coalition. Together they hauled a trailer-load of trash and construction materials from the alley.

Thumbnail image for Lynette Steele ACCE crop.jpg“We need City workers to be fully staffed so they can do their jobs and keep our streets and alleys clean the way they used to.”-Lynette Steele, co-chairperson, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)
Members of the Fix LA coalition then drove the trailer to Bank of New York Mellon on Bunker Hill to deliver the trash to bank officials. They called for the bank to pay the cleanup bill as a way to begin correcting the harm perpetrated by Wall Street on the City.

Eight years ago, LA entered into a toxic interest rate swap deal with the bank that costs taxpayers $5 million a year. The Fix LA Coalition has called upon the bank to release LA from the deal–and has urged City leaders to stop doing business with the bank if it won’t. Read the No Small Fees report to learn more.

Joint contract negotiations are scheduled to resume on August 13. Vowing to “bargain for the common good,” the coalition promises that both workers and community stakeholders will be present at the bargaining table to defend taxpayers from Wall Street greed whether officials want them there or not.

Related Link:LA Times: Group protests L.A. loan rates by dumping trash at downtown bank