The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

More Work for Less Money

Aug 21, 2023

On August 8, thousands of Los Angeles city workers went on strike for one day. At City Hall, hundreds of mechanics, gardeners, trash haulers, lifeguards, and traffic officers picketed, often in their uniforms. At Los Angeles International Airport, mechanics and custodians started marching before dawn. This strike was the first significant walkout by Los Angeles city workers in more than 40 years.

These city workers have the same problem as other workers: long working hours with less money.

"We are doing the work of three people," said one worker. "It’s more work for less money," said another. City officials drastically shrank the workforce during the COVID pandemic, mainly due to the City’s “incentivized” early retirement policy that forced older workers out of the workforce, creating a large number of unfilled vacancies within city agencies.

After the pandemic, the workload increased. But the City did not hire new workers, although it had the money allocated for this purpose in its budget. Instead, the City loaded more work on the remaining fewer workers, often stretching the workdays to 12 hours.

The protesting workers also said their wages did not keep up with inflation. The one-year contract under which they work provided members a 3% pay increase and a one-time bonus equal to 5% of a worker’s annual salary. That doesn’t come close to the double-digit price increases in rent, food, utilities, gasoline, and other basic necessities all workers face.

City officials then passed the supposed “savings” from squeezing the workers on to their capitalist “partners” in construction, real estate, or other businesses.

All workers face the same grueling reality imposed by our capitalist bosses every day: more work for less money. The fight of the Los Angeles City workers is also the fight of all workers everywhere.