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Los Angeles

The Biggest Universal Basic Mobility Experiment In The US

In May, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and LA Metro launched the biggest Universal Basic Mobility experiment ever attempted in the U.S., giving 1,000 South Los Angeles residents a “mobility wallet” — a debit card with $150 per month to spend on transportation. The catch? Funds can be used to take the bus, ride the train, rent a shared e-scooter, take micro-transit, rent a car-share, take an Uber or Lyft, or even purchase an e-bike — but they can’t be spent on the cost of owning or operating a car. The year-long pilot, ending in April, has the dual goals of increasing mobility for low-income residents and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Why Labor Unions Should Join The Housing Fight

Brenda Mendoza, a worker at the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, begins her daily commute at 3 a.m. To save gas, she carpools with family members, and they arrive back home around 9 p.m., at which point she’s lucky to catch three hours of sleep. Some days, she can sneak a nap during her 30-minute lunch break. This extended journey was not always Brenda’s fate, as she once commuted only ten minutes to and from her union job as a uniform attendant. However, increasing rental costs have pushed her and her family so far from downtown LA that she now drives four hours roundtrip every day she works at the hotel, where the cheapest room would cost you more than $800 tonight.

Thousands Of Los Angeles City Workers Stage 24-Hour Strike

Thousands of city workers in Los Angeles abandoned their jobs Tuesday in a one-day strike, calling attention to their claims of unfair labor practices and what they say is the city's unwillingness to bargain in good faith. The strike is the first work stoppage for employees in America's second-largest city in more than 40 years. About 11,000 city workers for SEIU Local 721, including sanitation workers, heavy-duty mechanics and engineers at the Los Angeles International Airport, custodians at public schools and lifeguards are staged the walkout and took to picket lines early Tuesday.

A Third Wave Of Strikes Crests At Los Angeles Hotels

Shouts of “No contract, No peace,” pounding drums, and a raucous band pierced the usually quiet, tony city of Beverly Hills, California, as 250 hotel workers picketed the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria on July 26. The primarily Latino crowd then marched several blocks down Wilshire Boulevard to picket the posh Beverly Wilshire hotel entrance, flowing around Porsches, black Cadillac SUVs, and a Mercedes Maybach containing a terrified pug. The Beverly Hills action was part of the third wave of strikes against 62 hotels in southern California after contracts expired June 30.

LA Failed To Stop Landlords From Turning Low-Cost Housing Into Hotels

By law, the American Hotel in downtown Los Angeles is supposed to be reserved for residents who can’t afford to live anywhere else. For decades, the building was a haven in the city’s sky-high housing market, where artists, musicians and people down on their luck could rent rooms for about $500 a month. At the end of the day, longtime tenants would hang out at Al’s Bar, a legendary punk and alternative rock venue on the ground floor where bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers played long before they sold out stadiums. But amid the largest homelessness crisis in the nation, the American’s owner has turned the building into a boutique hotel where tourists can book rooms for as much as $209 a night.

Thousands Of Los Angeles Hotel Workers Are On Strike Again

Several thousand hotel workers in Los Angeles walked off the job Monday morning over wages and staffing levels in the latest escalation of a heated labor dispute in the region. The strikes are affecting major hotels near Los Angeles International Airport, disrupting businesses and domestic and international travelers during the peak of summer. Wages in high-cost Southern California are a key point of contention between hotels and Unite Here Local 11, the union representing hospitality workers. Workers say they are commuting from hours away because they cannot afford to live where they work. They are seeking an immediate $5-an-hour raise, followed by additional increases.

Largest Hotel Workers’ Strike In Modern US History May Begin Soon

On June 22, nearly 200 workers, union leaders, progressive politicians, and other community members were arrested in a mass civil disobedience action. 200 demonstrators sat down in the middle of the road in Los Angeles, subjecting themselves to arrest to demand better wages, pensions, a housing fund, benefits, and safer workloads for UNITE HERE Local 11 workers in Los Angeles. Workers are gearing up to possibly strike after their contract with Hyatt, IHG, Hilton and Marriott hotels in LA expires on June 30. Local 11 workers authorized a strike on June 8 with 96% approval. This strike would involve over 15,000 union hotel workers, the largest hotel strike in modern US history.

In Los Angeles Schools, Solidarity Strike Scores Big For Both Unions

When Los Angeles educators joined school support staff on the picket lines last month, our solidarity strike helped them clinch a contract with a 30 percent raise. Riding that wave, yesterday educators reached a tentative agreement of our own, with a 21 percent raise, smaller classes, and improved staffing. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho had scoffed in February when support staff voted by 96 percent to authorize a strike. On Twitter he belittled the threat as empty theatrics. “1, 2, 3…Circus,” he wrote, “a predictable performance with a known outcome, desiring of nothing more than an applause, a coin, and a promise of a next show.” But fast-forward one month, and the joke was on him.

LA’s Teachers Make Good On Promise To Support Community Schools

Los Angeles, California - “We should have been miserable,” said Emily Grijalva, recalling the first days of the 2019 strike by Los Angeles teachers. Grijalva, who is currently the community school and restorative justice coordinator at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School, joined her colleagues on the picket line in 2019 despite the biting cold and an unusual, prolonged rainstorm that flooded city streets and sidewalks and drenched picketers. Many of them did not wear, much less own, suitable rain gear for their normally sunny, mild Southern California climate. “But even through the rain and cold, we felt togetherness and support from the community.

65,000 Los Angeles Education Workers Are On A Historic Three-Day Strike

Los Angeles, California - 65,000 workers from Service Employees International Union Local 99 and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) began a three-day strike on Tuesday, March 21. SEIU Local 99 workers are striking amidst contract negotiations around higher salaries, more full-time work schedules, better treatment, and more staffing. The SEIU workers represent a broad cross section of school staff, such as bus drivers, custodians, campus aides, and cafeteria workers. The union claims that apart from refusing to budge on key workers’ demands such as a 30% raise and more full time hours, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is also harassing and threatening workers for participating in union activity.

‘If They Strike, We Won’t Cross The Picket Line’

Los Angeles, California - Following weeks of uncharacteristically gloomy days, the weather broke late in the afternoon on Wednesday, March 15, seemingly in preparation for the 4:30 PM Unite for Los Angeles Schools rally in Grand Park outside City Hall. The gathered crowd buzzed with excitement and righteous indignation. Drums and horns sounded, signs and t-shirts were given out and street vendors peddled everything from cotton candy to tacos, making the event feel more like a music festival than a rally. Our headliners? Leaders from two of the largest unions in Los Angeles County.

Teachers And Education Workers Set To Strike!

Los Angeles, California - On Wednesday March 15, tens of thousands of teachers and education workers rallied at the steps of Los Angeles City Hall.  The joint rally of K-12 teachers (UTLA) and education support staff (SEIU 99) was organized to announce plans for both unions to go on strike, with SEIU 99 taking the lead in the fight for better wages, improved staff to student ratios, and an end to harassment by administrators. The mood was lively, with a mariachi band made up of teachers playing for the crowd, teachers and support staff dancing to the music, and pockets of teachers and education workers striking up impromptu chants and banging on homemade drums.

These Tenants Fought For Ownership Of Their Homes, And Won

Los Angeles, California - When a wealthy donor left four L.A. apartment buildings to his alma mater upon his death, it left the 130 tenants of those buildings wondering if they were going to be evicted or have their rents hiked. But on Jan. 10, tenants of the buildings in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood secured a major win when Boston University agreed to sell all four apartments to the Liberty Community Land Trust, which plans to keep the units permanently affordable. “Boston University accepted our offer because of the collective pressure we put them under as a collective, as a community,” tenants wrote on their Instagram page. “When we fight, we win!!!” The four buildings, World War II-era garden-style apartments, two of which are on Corbin Street and two on Clemson Street, were owned by BU alumnus Frederick Pardee, who left them to the school after his death.

Demonstrations Across The Country Call For End To Blockade On Cuba

Large demonstrations on the east and west coasts of the US took place yesterday calling for the end of the Blockade of Cuba as the annual vote in the General Assembly of the UN approaches this week. This will mark the 30th occasion when the overwhelming majority of countries of the world will stand up together in solidarity with the people of Cuba in their defiant struggle and dignified struggle against US imperialism. In New York over 200 people marched from Times Square, across busy 42nd Street, to the US-UN office on 1st Avenue demanding that Cuba be taken off Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, a measure designed to suffocate every aspect of Cuba’s ability to access the world market, to end all trade and travel restrictions and to end the over 62-year-old illegal blockade of the island. 

Real Estate Industry Spends Big To Crush ‘Mansion Tax’

Los Angeles, California - In the coming weeks, Los Angelenos will vote on a ballot measure to hike taxes on the sale of multimillion dollar properties, with the expected near-billion dollars in annual revenue going towards addressing the housing crisis in the second-largest city in America. The initiative has been strongly opposed by real estate interests — from huge corporate landlords to realtor lobbying groups and pro-business groups — who have so far poured more than $5 million into efforts to defeat the measure. Measure ULA, which would increase real estate transfer taxes on properties in the city of Los Angeles valued at $5 million or more, would only apply to an estimated four percent of real estate transactions annually.
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