Threatened cuts to LA County public janitorial jobs spur protest

Carrying "L.A. is NOT Wisconsin'' signs and wearing purple T-shirts reading "Clean Up Sodexo," more than 200 workers protested today outside the Board of Supervisors' meeting against a county proposal to award $11.2 million in hospital janitorial contracts to a company that union leaders claim would cut staff by as much as 30 percent.
Corey Moore/KPCC

About 500 public employees carried banners, signs and drums today on the sidewalk outside the Los Angeles County administration building. Demonstrators - many of them custodians - protested a potential deal between the LA County Board of Supervisors and maintenance contractor Sodexo. Supervisors are considering whether cut costs by awarding hospital janitorial contracts to that company.

Union leader Mike Garcia says that deal could jeopardize more than quarter of the cleaning staff jobs at LA County medical centers.

“We’re protesting the fact that this is just another move by the county to push wages downwards," said Garcia, adding that the move could push quality jobs downward, eliminate health care benefits and "push workers further down into poverty.”

Some organizers expressed their concerns to supervisors during today's meeting. LA County supervisors expect to take up the issue in a couple of weeks. The existing hospital maintenance contract expires at the end of this month.