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latimes-logoSEIU members who work for the City of Los Angeles have been threatening to go on strike even though many of them are overpaid when compared to private sector or other public sector employees – and union members know they are getting a good deal.

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.