Eight people were arrested as part of a planned act of civil disobedience June 19 while hundreds of union members marched and rallied in the central terminal area of Los Angeles International Airport amid contract negotiations between airlines and airport service employees.
The almost two-hour demonstration caused some traffic delays in the terminal area, but things returned to normal after the protesters boarded buses and left the airport just after 1:35 p.m., LAX officials said.
The eight people were arrested for blocking one of the main roadway exits out of the airport. Police worked with SEIU-United Service Workers West to make sure the arrests were peaceful, according to LAX Airport police Sgt. Belinda Nettles.
“They were sitting in the roadway. They were given a lawful order to disperse and when they don’t disperse, that’s grounds for us to arrest,” Nettles said.
No flights were delayed or canceled as a result of the demonstration, according to LAX officials.
SEIU-USWW spokesman Jacob Hay said the contractual issues being negotiated are familiar topics — wages, health care and work hours.
The current contract for about 2,500 airport service workers is set to expire June 26. The SEIU-USWW has also been in negotiations with airline contractors, Hay said.
“As it stands, these contractors who were hired by the airlines are offering a new contract that freezes wages, cuts health care benefits and reduces the work week for these employees,” Hay said.
The union is seeking the maintenance of current health care benefits and a wage increase of $1 to $1.50 an hour, depending on the job, Hay said.
Tim Maddox, vice president of SIEU-USWW, said he’s hopeful the airlines got the message from the demonstration.
“I think that if we didn’t send a strong enough message, we may be looking at going to strike,” Maddox said.
Airline officials could not be reached for immediate comment on the labor talks.