Labor march disrupts LAX Thanksgiving traffic

Associated Press Modified: November 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm •  Published: November 21, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A march by hundreds of union members and supporters on streets near Los Angeles International Airport frustrated some Thanksgiving travelers on Wednesday as 13 people were arrested, mostly for a planned refusal to disperse.

The permitted march was organized by the Service Employees International Union, which is in a dispute with an airport services company, Aviation Safeguards, which no longer has SEIU contracts.

The protest began after the airport's peak travel period of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and police had arranged traffic diversions, but some people driving into the airport in the early afternoon ended up in backups during various road closures over about two hours.

"People trying to make their flights were delayed," said police Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

Airlines, however, reported no major issues with passengers missing flights during the demonstration, airport public relations director Nancy Suey Castles said in a statement. Traffic through the central terminal areas also flowed smoothly, she said.

The march ended with the planned arrests of 12 people who sat down in a street and disobeyed a dispersal order, Smith said. A 13th person was arrested for investigation of shoving into a police line.

At a news conference, union members accompanied by Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, said it was proper to stage a protest on the busy travel day because the issue affects all working people.

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