Union officials representing about 10,000 Los Angeles municipal workers said Thursday some progress was being made in labor talks with the city, so there were no imminent plans for a strike.
“In the last 48 hours, the SEIU 721 bargaining team and our Fix L.A. community partners have finally witnessed some movement at the bargaining table,” SEIU Local 721 President Bob Schoonover said. “For that reason we have decided to not initiate a strike today.”
Schoonover added that “key issues” still need to be resolved in the talks, and they still have the option to go on strike.
SEIU Local 721, which represents tree-trimmers, trash drivers, street repair crews and other city employees, is part of a larger coalition of city unions engaged in mediation with city management.
The union members voted last week to authorize a strike if needed. Schoonover said the strike authorization has the backing of the executive board of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
“Our SEIU 721 rank-and-file members remain fully committed to doing whatever it takes to Fix L.A. and protect the jobs of the men and women who keep L.A. city running,” he said.
For now the union is “dedicated to the ongoing mediation process with the goal of reaching a fair agreement and delivering a better city to our families and our communities,” Schoonover said.
Earlier this month, some sanitation workers stayed home from work for two days in an action the union said was unsanctioned, delaying trash pickup for many residents.
City leaders, including Mayor Eric Garcetti said last year that in order to eliminate future budget deficits, the city needs to hold the line on employee wages and get workers to agree to contribute a higher percentage of their health care costs. City employee unions have so far resisted such concessions.
— City News Service
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