Workers and supporters of the local operating engineers union made themselves heard Monday morning during a protest at the Warner Center in Woodland Hills.
“We’re trying to get support from the tenants to engage the (property) owner, Douglas-Emmett,” Patrick Murphy, business representative for Southern California Local 501, explained. “We’re out here letting them know who we are to support the engineers in these buildings for a better contract.”
About a dozen Local 501 members and supporters carried signs, cowbells and other noisemakers along the sidewalk on Oxnard, Canoga, Califa and Owensmouth avenues, alternating between cries of “Who are we? 501!” and “Douglas-Emmett.”
Maintenance engineers at Douglas-Emmett’s Woodland Hills properties voted to join Local 501 on Aug. 26. Soon after, the union filed unfair labor practice charges against the company, alleging that it attempted to dissuade the engineers from unionizing by threatening them and refusing to negotiate a contract, according to an online forum for Douglas-Emmett employees and tenants.
Both Douglas-Emmett’s corporate offices and its management team at the Warner Center declined to comment.
While the pending charges were a factor in the union’s decision to stage a protest, its primary purpose was to provide encouragement for the property’s engineers, noted Colin Wolf, a representative of union affiliate International Union of Operating Engineers.
“This is mostly just us out here to show our support for the engineers,” Wolf said.