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Letters: L.A. labor

April 26, 2013

Re "Time for labor to step up," Column, April 24

I sat down with Steve Lopez in 2010 to discuss the impact that "givebacks" would have on our SEIU Local 721 members who work for Los Angeles. Workers eventually agreed to help the city save money.

Lopez's recent commentary is shortsighted. He acknowledges but doesn't take too seriously the fact that city politicians keep exaggerating the effects of L.A.'s budget deficit. He also ignores the city's hundreds of millions in uncollected debt and the fact that it has not considered renegotiating the more than $2 billion it pays out to private contractors.

Workers deliver the services residents need, and we have been responsible by giving back. Comparing us to workers in the private sector implies that the private sector has not been responsible for decimating the the middle class. Open your eyes — it has.

Art Sweatman

Long Beach

The writer, a member of SEIU Local 721, is a Los Angeles city tree trimmer.

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