Among the city workers who are currently threatening to strike amid contract negotiations that have stalled over pay and other issues, many collect salaries higher than those who do similar jobs in both the public and private sectors, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found.
The analysis, which compared 2014 city and federal wage data, shows that three of the five largest job categories represented by Service Employees International Union Local 721 — the biggest and most prominent of the unions now in contract talks with the city — pay more than double the median salary of similar full-time, private-sector jobs in Los Angeles County.
For example, security guards employed by the city last year made a median base salary of $57,501, compared with $23,330 in the private sector. For city janitors, median annual wages were $46,694, compared with $22,750 in the private sector. City gardeners' median base salary was $55,173; for those doing similar jobs in the private sector, it was $23,250.
Garbage-truck drivers such as Turner, who make up the largest single job category represented by SEIU, last year made a median base salary of $73,707. Those doing the same job in the private sector made a median salary of $43,200.
The pay disparity can also be seen — albeit to a lesser extent — in comparisons with other government agencies, the data show. The median wage for each L.A. city job class is 18% to 42% higher than that paid public employees doing similar jobs elsewhere in the county, according to the Times' analysis.
L.A. traffic officers, who are primarily responsible for enforcing parking regulations, made a median salary of $63,626 last year. Median annual pay for parking-enforcement officers at other government agencies was $45,110. (In each job category, half of workers' salaries are below the median and half above it.)