Culver City Edition Lead Story West Edition

Protest near airport seeks higher wages, workers’ rights

LOS ANGELES — A protest at Los Angeles International Airport concluded peacefully Nov. 29, the second of two local demonstrations that were part of a national wave of rallies and marches by fast-food, home-care, child-care and other workers in support of a $15-per-hour wage and workers’ rights.

Organizers, including the Service Employees International Union, said the demonstrations were held in response to the recent election of politicians “who threaten an extremist agenda to move the country to the right.”

Shortly before noon, two groups of demonstrators gathered on the upper level at LAX, with one group on the north side and the other group on the south side, marching toward the Tom Bradley International Terminal, according to an LAX statement.

Neither flight operations nor Central Terminal Area traffic was affected as the protesters observed signal lights and crossed streets in groups, according to airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.

Demonstrators left the Central Terminal Area around 12:30 p.m., marched along Century Boulevard and held a rally on a closed block-long section of Airport Boulevard, between Century and 98th Street, until about 1:45 p.m., Castles said.

The closed block of Airport Boulevard was re-opened shortly after 2 p.m., she said.

Some people returning rental cars experienced difficulty reaching drop-off locations, but otherwise, “it went very smoothly,” Castles said.

“It was orderly,” she said. “No arrests were reported and no injuries were reported.”

According to organizers, the protests were held to “underscore that any efforts to block wage increases, gut workers’ rights or health care, deport immigrants or support racism or racist policies will be met with unrelenting opposition by workers in the Fight for $15.”

The first protest of the day began at about 6 a.m. at Seventh and Alameda streets near downtown Los Angeles. About an hour into the rally, protesters blocked the intersection and police arrested 40 of them, the Los Angeles Police Department reported. News footage indicated the arrests were a low-force affair.

According to protest organizers, the LAX action was planned to send a message to airlines “that it’s time they take responsibility for those whose dedication and hard work help to generate $36 billion in profits for the aviation industry.”

Many of the demonstrators at the LAX rally and march arrived and left aboard buses.