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Rally By Union Airport Workers, Rideshare Drivers Shuts Down Traffic At LAX

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Traffic was brought to a standstill Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport as hundreds of airport employees, Uber and Lyft drivers and other workers marched on LAX to demand support for the "Unions for All" movement.

The march started at Century Boulevard and Avion Drive and wound its way to the Central Terminal Area. Marchers even entered Terminal 1 to draw attention to the fact that airline, ride-hailing and childcare workers who make corporations successful are struggling to afford rent and basic necessities.

Union Airport Workers, Rideshare Drivers March On LAX
Airport employees, Uber and Lyft drivers and other workers hold a protest at Los Angeles International Airport. Oct. 2, 2019. (CBS2)

Organizers said they also wanted to demonstrate their support for newly signed state legislation that makes it more difficult for employers to designate workers as independent contractors, making them ineligible for benefits. Uber and Lyft officials strongly opposed the measure and have indicated they hope to find exemptions to the law, which goes into effect in January.

Presidential candidate and California Sen. Kamala Harris spoke at a rally that kicked off the march.

"Everyone needs to understand in America -- thank labor for that five-day work week. Thank labor for that eight-hour work day. Thank labor for that weekend and sick leave and holiday time. Thank organized labor," Harris said to cheers.

By 1:30 p.m., LAX reported that the activity around the Central Terminal Area had ended and Century Boulevard and other surrounding roads had fully reopened.

The march comes one day before the Unions for All summit, which is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites in Los Angeles. SEIU members from around the county are expected to attend and will feature discussions with Democratic presidential candidates, including Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was also slated to participate in the discussions, but has since  canceled his appearances until further notice due to being hospitalized after the discovery of an arterial blockage.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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