The Engineers and Architects Association, a union which represents more than 7,500 City of Los Angeles employees, went on strike Tuesday, August 22nd, after association members did not receive pay raises similar to raises received by police, fire and Department of Water and Power employees.
Union members established picket lines at the Hyperion Treatment Plant in Playa del Rey, but were under a temporary restraining order not to strike at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Union officials said the strike might last beyond Wednesday, August 23rd, which is the day the union had planned to end the strike.
The city’s offer of a 6.25 percent pay raise over three years is similar to other civilian union contracts, but the Engineers and Architects Association was not pleased because members wanted the higher pay raise that city employee unions received in recent months.
Engineers and Architects members work as civil, sanitary and transportation engineers, architects, airport operation and maintenance specialists, police department criminologists and management analysts as well as communications and dispatch specialists for police and fire departments.
Members also work at the four airports managed by Los Angeles World Airports, sewage treatment plants such as Hyperion, for emergency response agencies and for a variety of other city departments.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janav granted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s request Monday, August 21st, for a temporary restraining order against more than 200 city employees working in critical positions directly affecting the health and safety of the public.
Villaraigosa directed Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to seek a restraining order in court.
“Among those critical positions are employees charged with ensuring the safe operation of LAX,” Delgadillo said. “In today’s state of heightened alert, it is clear we cannot allow any weakening of our airport’s critical security net.”
Villaraigosa, a former union organizer, said the temporary restraining order affects a small number of Engineers and Architects members and that members who work in positions not critical to public health and safety have the right to strike.
“While we will always respect the right of workers to organize, we cannot tolerate any effort to compromise the safety of the people of Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa said.
“We anticipate a peaceful and respectful work action. However, any attempt to threaten the safety of the people of Los Angeles will be dealt with swiftly and with the full weight of the law.”
Unions in California and Los Angeles have the right to strike, but those strikes are regulated by a number of laws and provisions.