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Laid-off janitors and supporters plan protest outside Century Plaza

August 26, 2010 | 11:59 am

A protest planned outside JP Morgan Chase-owned Century Plaza on Thursday afternoon by recently laid-off janitors is expected to cause traffic gridlock in Century City.

Organizers say the march and rally scheduled for 1 p.m. at the corner of Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard could lead to civil disobedience as janitors with picket signs and banners block the streets.

The janitors are expected to be joined by hundreds of supporters, including fellow janitors, security officers and airport workers, organizers said.

“We are protesting to call on JP Morgan Chase to help bring these janitors back to work,” said Mike Chavez, a spokesman for the service employees union SEIU United Service Workers West. “JP Morgan paid out billions in bonuses last year, while the people who clean their buildings are being laid off. Many of these hardworking families have no way to put food on the table, or pay rent. ”

Two weeks ago, 16 janitors, who were employed by a custodial contractor were laid off from their jobs cleaning Century Plaza Tower and 2000 Avenue of the Stars — both owned by JP Morgan Chase and home to some of the richest tenants in Los Angeles. In a show of support, another 57 janitors walked off the job at Century Plaza, organizers said.

Since Tuesday, at least half a dozen janitors have been on a three-day “Fast for Justice,” while other workers have participated in candlelight vigils.

“This is bigger than JP Morgan Chase, it’s bigger than the laid-off janitors who sparked this fight,” said David Huerta, vice president of United Service Workers West. “It’s about standing up and fighting for what’s right and what’s good for our country.”

Officials at the Los Angeles Police Department's West Traffic Division said street closures would be enforced in Century City through the late afternoon, and would include Century Park East between Santa Monica Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard; and Constellation Boulevard between Century Plaza East and Avenue of the Stars.

-- Ann M. Simmons