About 25 University of California healthcare workers were arrested Friday afternoon in Westwood during a protest over staffing levels, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
In a planned act of civil disobedience, the protesters blocked the intersection at Westwood and Wilshire boulevards and refused to leave, said LAPD Sgt. A. Bone. Officers arrested them and took them to the West Los Angeles community police station for booking.
The protest began about 2 p.m. LAPD officers were monitoring the event to make sure that the protesters didn't get run over by traffic, Bone said. But then the protesters decided to block traffic, and the officers issued an order to disperse. When the protesters didn't leave, they were taken into custody, he said.
"They were stopping all traffic at that major intersection," he said. "We had to take action."
Bone added that their names had been given to the department ahead of time.
The workers are part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents respiratory therapists, pharmacy technicians and vocational nurses. The union staged a two-day strike at all five UC medical centers in May.
Earlier this week, UC told the union that it would be implementing its last contract proposal for the more than 12,000 workers.
"UC has negotiated with AFSCME in good faith since June 2012. We have offered fair contract proposals with wage increases, excellent benefits and responsible pension reform – to which AFSCME repeatedly objected," said Dwaine Duckett, vice president for human resources for UC.
Union President Kathryn Lybarger responded by saying that the move was an "assault -- not just on the collective bargaining process and the frontline workers at the backbone of the UC system--but on the students, patients and taxpayers this system is supposed to serve."