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LAX union protesters arrested; delays anger travelers

Los Angeles police began arresting protesting LAX workers Wednesday near the airport in a labor march that forced some closures, snarled traffic and delayed holiday travelers trying to leave town for Thanksgiving.

About a dozen protesters were in the process of having tie cuffs placed on their wrists after police gave them an order to disperse about 1:15 p.m. A dozen people sat down in the intersection at Century and Sepulveda boulevards after the order was issued, while the rest of the crowd backed away.

Workers with Service Employees International Union-USWW passed out fliers to passengers, describing a labor dispute with an airport-associated contractor and a plea for better jobs and benefits at the airport.

The union marched near the entrance to Los Angeles International Airport at Airport and Century boulevards as airport officials warned those traveling between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to arrive an hour and a half ahead of their normal schedule.

"LAX jobs used to be good jobs that allowed its workers to pass on a better life; now LAX is holding back hard-working people and the communities around the airport," USWW President Mike Garcia said in a statement.

Travelers said they were not pleased. 

"Really? Union's protest is blocking traffic to LAX and theres LAPD in riot gear. Happy Thanksgiving Eve. #ihateeveryone #weneedaplague," tweeted @StevenCrowley.

Jennifer Diaz of Redondo Beach called the union action "completely selfish."

-- Ari Bloomekatz and Kimi Yoshino


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Photo: A union's march and rally near Los Angeles International Airport snarled traffic and caused delays. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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