Los Angeles-In lieu of the grocery strikes, thousands of homeless formed picket lines around city hall, protesting the city's refusal to meet their unions' requests in their new contract with the city.
With their old contract set to expire, the homeless union began talks with the city to renegotiate well over three months ago, but when the issue of health benefits and wages came up, talks came to a standstill. "All we want is what's rightfully ours," says Adrian Malloy, a man well known for his inept religious ramblings along the Sunset Strip. "The new contract they want to give us would really put me in the gutter. You see, I have to protest. There simply isn't any other option. I've been doing this for seventeen years and I'm almost ready to retire. They can't take my medical away now."
The homeless have promised that until their demands are met, panhandling, apocalyptic prophecy and schizophrenic rambling will no longer take place in the streets of the greater Los Angeles area. City officials are confident the homeless are only bluffing, and are ready to wait them out. "We can hold out longer than they can," says mayor Adam Gray. "We know they can't stay on strike forever. They have to go back to not working sooner or later, and the city of Los Angeles is fully prepared to wait them out."
In a surprise appearance that surprised no one, the Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared on the steps of City Hall, unwashed and ready to fight for the homeless cause. "The non-working man is underrepresented in this great state, and we're here to change that," he said to cheering throngs of homeless. "You are my people," he said to the cheering crowd with a smile and tear in his eye.
How it affects you-what do I do with my loose change?
All over the Southland, people are beginning to feel the strain of the homeless strike. All over the city, pockets are bulging with loose change and the burden of having no one to give it to.
Brian Vann, a Los Angeles businessman expressed his concern. "Every morning I buy a Starbucks triple latte mocha with a double shot of espresso, and every day I get my change back. Do you know what it's like having to walk around with pocketfuls of change everywhere? I used to give it to Old Man Franklin on the street corner, but now that he's on strike, I have no one to give it to."
Although the homeless are still accepting change, and cannot by law force someone to not give them their money, they do their best to turn the do-gooders away, telling them to support their cause and to give their change only to Orange County homeless, a non-union group of non-workers.