LA City workers--backed by clergy, residents and organizations in the Fix LA coalition--took action at more than 70 work sites from Playa Del Rey to the San Gabriel Valley and from the San Fernando Valley to LAX and the Port of Los Angeles in order to expose the health, safety and
quality of life impacts facing Los Angeles and demand that City Hall end an era of pain and
drastic cuts to vital jobs and city services.
To see what actions your fellow workers took on Tuesday, check out Fix LA on Facebook and Twitter.
City of LA job cuts--more than 5,000 positions held primarily by
people of color have been wiped out since Wall Street crashed the
economy in 2008--have had a severe impact on the city's
communities and working families. For example, the city's 39,000
catch basins, which filter storm water before it travels to LA's
rivers and beaches, require 80 workers to maintain--but the city
only has 24, less than a third of the number required to keep toxic
trash from polluting our waterways. In addition, the number of city mechanics has dropped by 20%, resulting in deferred maintenance to
LA's aging fleet, frequent equipment breakdowns that keep trash
trucks off the street, and a potential safety hazard to the public.
"My co-workers and I are doing everything possible to keep the
public safe, but we need elected officials to stand up to the big
Wall Street banks and commit to reinvesting services and protecting
residents," said Stacee Karnya, a chemist at the Hyperion treatment
plant, where raw sewage is processed before the
water is released to the ocean. "Without adequate workforce or
functioning equipment to get the job done, LA neighborhoods and
beaches remain at risk."
Karnya joined several dozen workers who poured out of their laboratories during their lunch breaks to march across a skybridge to Dockweiler Beach, drop two banners, and stage a speakout with environmental advocates, coastal residents, and Westside community organizations.
Fix LA has uncovered that Wall Street banks
charge LA taxpayers nearly $300 million in transaction fees alone,
but to date City Hall has failed to renegotiate these payments to
bring money back to Los Angeles and restore city services.
The citywide actions kicked off at 6:30 am when sanitation workers
from the South LA yard were joined by clergy, community leaders and
Councilmember Jose Huizar to call out the city's aging fleet. The
number of city mechanics has dropped by 20%, resulting in deferred
maintenance, frequent equipment breakdowns that keep trash trucks off
the street, and a potential safety hazard to the public.
"We are tired of seeing millions of dollars go to big banks
while our families and neighborhoods are pushed to the brink," said
Jaime Zeledón, a Mar Vista Gardens resident of the Westside renewal
"We are the ones who have to put up with the sewage overflows and
unguarded schools crossings. I'm tired of hearing politicians claim
that 'there is no money' for the basic services our communities
need, when we know there is a surplus and no one at City Hall is
taking on Wall Street for all those fees."
The actions come as bargaining grinds on between management and
the Coalition of LA City Unions, which represents approximately
20,000 city workers - over 75% of which are people of color. Fix
LA, which includes those unions and a growing array of community and
advocacy organizations, are bargaining together as workers and
residents to address the deterioration of services, quality of life,
and access to middle-class jobs. Specific
platform proposals include restoring City staffing
levels and vital services to pre-recession levels, promoting a
minimum $15 wage, adding crossing guards to elementary and middle
schools, and a local hire/job training program to address an aging