There's no telling how many protesters will show up or how badly this will disrupt holiday traffic, but it probably won't be great: Century Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard are expected to be shut down for at least portions of the afternoon. The protests are aimed at an LAX contractor called Aviation Safeguards - supposedly centering on health care benefits, though to be honest I've read differing accounts about what this is really about (media coverage has been weak). Here's the skinny from the airport:
LAPD and LADOT will first temporarily close westbound Century Boulevard between Airport and Sepulveda boulevards during the start of the demonstration. When the demonstration transitions from Century Boulevard to northbound Sepulveda Boulevard, northbound Sepulveda Boulevard will close between Imperial Highway and 98th Street, and westbound Century Boulevard will reopen. When northbound Sepulveda Boulevard closes, the California Highway Patrol is expected to also close the westbound I-105 Century Freeway exit onto northbound Sepulveda Boulevard. Motorists exiting the Central Terminal Area will be directed to southbound Sepulveda Boulevard and eastbound Century Boulevard only.
More noteworthy will be the protests at Walmart stores on Black Friday. Here's a snippet from the advocacy group LAANE:
It's not often we urge our supporters to go to Walmart - but that's exactly what we're asking you to do this week. No, Walmart has not changed its ways. Quite the opposite - the country's largest employer is still one of the nation's worst employers. That's why Walmart workers across the country will be walking off the job on Black Friday. By striking on the busiest shopping day of the year, they will send a powerful message to Walmart that things must change.
From this week's Business Update on KPCC:
Susanne Whatley: Didn't Walmart file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board?
Lacter: They did - they're accusing the union of violating federal labor laws, and the retailer does expect some of its employees to walk off their jobs. Keep in mind, though, that organized labor has been trying for years to unionize Walmart - thus far without much success. Locally, they've also tried to prevent Walmart from opening stores that are close to unionized supermarkets, also without much success.
Whatley: Sort of puts shoppers in a tough spot...
Lacter: Can't you just see customers on Friday getting out of their cars, looking at the demonstrations, and saying, "Oh, that's just terrible about their health care. Now where's the Electronics Department?" The protestors will probably find shoppers who are sympathetic with Walmart workers. But if raising wages or offering better health care means higher checkout prices, they might not stay sympathetic. And that's why union officials have such a hard time these days: it's not just working with management; it's influencing the public at large.