LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Police arrested 13 protesters at Los Angeles International Airport who staged a demonstration on behalf of airport workers during one of the busiest travel days of the year.
The Service Employees International Unit (SEIU) – which represents janitors, wheelchair attendants, skycaps, security guards and other service workers – obtained a permit to close down Century Boulevard for 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon, but several protesters were arrested for intentionally sitting on the street.
Anyone who didn’t clear out of the area by 1:45 p.m. when the permit expired was also arrested, according to police.
The union says 400 workers were left without a contract when LAX contractor Aviation Safeguards (AVSG) broke its agreement with the airport earlier this year.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said the private firm also illegally lured workers away from SEIU.
Nearly a year ago, 52 percent of union workers voted to switch to Aviation Safeguards from SEIU for what they say are better benefits.
“As far as the union, they keep intimidating us. They keep pushing us to go with them, but we are not part of them. We don’t want to do anything with them,” worker Martin Storm told CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom. “We are actually getting paid a lot better, and I have better health insurance than I did with the union.”