Business & Economy

LA County employees rally as contract negotiations continue

Members of SEIU Local 721 gather in front of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.
Members of SEIU Local 721 gather in front of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.
Brian Watt/KPCC

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Los Angeles County is the largest employer in... Los Angeles County. Its current labor contract with more than 55,000 employees expires Wednesday night. The union that represents those workers staged a rally Tuesday at L.A. County headquarters, as talks for a new contract entered their final stages. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.

Brian Watt: More than a thousand nurses, library workers, road repairers, and others marched outside the Hahn administration building. Inside, Linda Dent addressed the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. She’s vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 721.

Linda Dent: We see the effects of the economy up close and personal because we serve the public, especially when they are in need.

Watt: The veteran tax collection clerk and her colleagues said they weren’t looking for raises this time. But they do want smaller guarantees that could boost efficiency and safety: uniforms for parks workers, boots for animal control officers, shorter lines at the registrar recorder's office. And to really save money, Dent added...

Dent: Stop contracting out our jobs.

[Loud cheers and applause]

Watt: The employees also said they don’t want to pay more than they do now for medical insurance. County Supervisor Don Knabe thanked the union for its spirit of cooperation:

Don Knabe: These are difficult times for all of us, you know, up and down the ladder. I mean, this situation has left no one untouched.

Watt: Knabe said he hoped contract talks would yield good results soon.