Labor Unions Occupy LAX Airport

Labor Unions Occupy LAX Airport

Today’s nationwide May Day activities wreaked havoc for residents and travelers in the Los Angeles area after a labor-led protest snarled traffic and shut down all but two entrances to the LAX international airport.

Video of the day’s protests can be seen here, courtesy of the LA Times.

About 1,200 members of the Service Employees International Union / United Service Workers West, as well as activists from other organizations, including Occupy, staged a demonstration and march at the airport.  LAPD officials indicated that at least ten protesters planned in advance to be arrested.

The demonstrators were there to protest against unfair labor practices, according to CNN.

In Southern California, protesters — including Occupiers, labor unions, and community and religious organizations — were picketing against unfair labor practices at Los Angeles International Airport, according to Occupywallst.org.

Los Angeles International Airport issued a traffic advisory, and two blocks of nearby Century Boulevard were shut down before a 3 p.m. ET march of at least 1,200 union members.

LAX rep Albert Rodriguez said the Century Boulevard blocks would remain closed until 7 p.m. ET. The march did not affect any airport operations, including flights, he said.

A Vice President for the United Service Workers West said that health and safety are major issues of concern at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which was the primary site of today’s LA demonstrations for that reason.

“People see the conditions in the terminal but not what goes on below the terminal–the issues of health and safety, where people have serious accidents on a regular basis, cargo accidents, their hands get crushed…[and] it’s not unusual that someone comes away with an accident that is terminal damage,” said David Huerta, vice president of United Service Workers West, the coalition of unions numbering some 40,000 workers in Los Angeles, which is leading the strike at LAX.

Huerta also claimed that cargo companies threatened to fire airport workers if they participated in the strike.

The Los Angeles Police department earlier indicated that the demonstration was not actually a “strike,” but a protest.  LAPD did arrest at least ten but as many eighteen protesters this afternoon for “failure to disperse.”

Meanwhile, three other groups of Occupy protesters (organized in what they called “winds”) converged on downtown LA as buses were re-routed and police barricaded certain portions of the streets to accommodate the protesters as they marched through the streets.

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