Century City's business as usual came to a standstill yesterday afternoon as the janitors who lost their jobs cleaning JPMorgan Chase-owned Century Plaza towers were joined by 500 janitors, community activists, and union supporters at a march and protest in Los Angeles.
The crowd took over the intersection of Constellation and Avenue of the Stars, continuously marching and chanting, "While banks get bailed out, workers get tossed out!"
More than 48 hours into their hunger fast, janitors who were fired from JP Morgan Chase's prestigious 2000 Avenue of the Stars address marched into the intersection linking arms.
Though weak from lack of food, their spirit was strengthened by the supporters chanting, dancing, and waving signs.
Calling on JP Morgan Chase to stop the layoffs at their buildings, 13 community activists and a clergy member sat down in the middle of the intersection until police arrested them for their act of civil disobedience.
Fasting janitors remained in the tent city last night and are expected to break their fast later today.
JP Morgan Chase is one of the largest banking and investment companies in the nation and the largest mortgage lender and holder of foreclosed properties in LA County. Despite paying out $9 billion in executive bonuses and receiving $95 billion in taxpayer-funded bailouts, JP Morgan is trying to cut costs by laying off janitors.
Two weeks ago, 16 hardworking janitors were laid off. Already struggling in a tough economy, the families affected by the layoffs are desperate, with no way to pay rent or put food on the table. Fifty-seven of their co-workers who are left to pick up the additional work at Century Plaza walked out in protest, and were subsequently suspended.
Stay tuned to the SEIU Blog -- we'll have more on the janitors breaking their fast in Los Angeles soon.