By Ross Lenihan
With its warm weather, eclectic neighborhoods and gorgeous beaches it’s easy to understand why Los Angeles attracts over 50 million visitors a year. And with summer beach season in full swing it’s worth appreciating the many ways that union members help make those lovely beach days possible.
SEIU represents more than 50,000 employees in Los Angeles County, including the staff at the Department of Beaches and Harbors, which maintains and cleans many of LA’s popular coastal stretches.
A beach isn’t much good if the water isn’t safe. The Hyperion Treatment Plant, staffed by AFSCME members through the City of LA, is the largest sewage treatment facility in all of LA. The Hyperion plant handles hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater every day; prior to its creation, raw sewage was literally pumped right into the ocean.
Over 700 lifeguards in Los Angeles County are entrusted with protecting over 30 miles of beach and over 70 miles of coastline, from San Pedro in the south to Malibu in the north. LA lifeguards, who also served as the inspiration for the hit TV show Baywatch, are also proud members of SEIU.
Professional staff at the U.S. Coast Guard, which patrols the Southern California coast, are members of AFGE, the union that represents many employees of the federal government. In addition, County Sheriffs and local police are almost always union members.
Thus, if you plan to enjoy some of the hot summer action at the many beautiful LA beaches this summer make sure to offer some thank yous to the union men and women who made it all possible.
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