Striking employees due back at jobs

first_imgAt Los Angeles International Airport, some Teamsters and Operating Engineers refused to cross the picket line Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving only about half of 120 employees working on the south runway relocation project. But Villaraigosa said it appeared that support for the strike had dwindled, with fewer than 1,000 pickets Wednesday compared with about 1,600 Tuesday. The City Council voted last week to impose a contract on the EAA that gives members no raise the first year, but subsequent hikes totaling 6.25 percent – an agreement accepted by 17,000 other city workers. Aquino said his members are insulted there is no raise in the contract’s first year. “That was what they offered when we first sat down to talk and nothing’s changed,” Aquino said. “When they said they were continuing to negotiate, I don’t know who they were negotiating with.” The EAA is seeking parity with Department of Water and Power workers, who received a five-year contract with increases of 3.25 percent a year. Aquino said the strike affected the Department of Building and Safety and several other key departments, and that anger is growing among EAA members. “We have a lot of members who are telling us, Why go back?” Aquino said. “I hope the mayor and the City Council’s attitude is not `Let them eat cake.’ Unfortunately, that will lead to further disruption.” Aquino said wastewater from the city’s sewage treatment plants was flowing into Santa Monica Bay untested – a claim the city’s Department of Public Work said was largely false. The city’s Bureau of Sanitation was allowed to postpone some beach water quality tests normally conducted on Tuesday until today, Public Works spokeswoman Cora Jackson-Fossett said. The city also has arranged for Los Angeles County to do the required tests for bacteria pollution at several key beach testing spots. Picketing outside City Hall, architect Charles Chu said he was willing to forgo his pay for the strike. “If the strike is longer than two days it would affect me paying my mortgage, paying my car, paying for groceries, everything. But I’m willing to sacrifice if that’s what the membership votes to do.” Villaraigosa and City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka continued to say Aquino has not been straightforward with his members on contract negotiations. “It was the union that declared an impasse after only eight bargaining sessions,” Fujioka said. “That’s unheard of. It was the union that wanted a fact-finder and when the fact-finder report came out, we offered to implement it, but it was the union that said no.” Villaraigosa said the union’s contract demands would add $17.5 million to the budget, something the city cannot afford. “Three months ago, I was here telling you we have a $300 million structural deficit to deal with,” Villaraigosa said. “We are reducing that. But I have a financial responsibility to the taxpayers of the city to make sure we live within our means.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los Angeles“We started this out to let the city and the people of Los Angeles know how important our jobs are,” Aquino said. “We said at the start it would be a two-day strike and we proved our point. “There is no reason to prolong this and make the people of Los Angeles suffer any further.” Villaraigosa said he was pleased with the union’s decision to end the strike. “We should welcome back our colleagues from the EAA and get back to doing a professional job in serving the public,” Villaraigosa said. On Wednesday, the striking workers forced city officials to shut 22 of the city’s 59 swimming pools because of inadequate staffing, and the Los Angeles Police Department said it was deferring most cases that needed fingerprint specialists. Hundreds of City Hall workers are expected back at their jobs today, ending the first strike by Los Angeles municipal employees in more than a decade. While the two-day strike by the 7,400-member Engineers and Architects Association caused scattered service disruptions, it failed to push the city into giving in to union demands for bigger salary increases. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has opposed the EEA’s effort to get more than most other city employees have accepted, urged workers Wednesday to “say thanks to the taxpayers of Los Angeles and get back to work.” Despite previous threats to prolong the job action, EAA Executive Director Robert Aquino told about 150 striking workers at City Hall late Wednesday that they had made their point. last_img