LAUSD and SEIU reach an agreement
A tentative contract agreement was reached Friday between the Los Angeles Unified School District and its support staff Three days of general strike That shut down the nation’s second-largest school system.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 — which represents about 30,000 LAUSD teaching assistants, bus drivers, custodians and other support workers — announced Friday that the contract includes a 30% wage increase and a previous pay raise. . $4,000 and $8,000.
The increase will raise the average annual salary of its workers from about $25,000 to $33,000, the union said.
LAUSD confirmed the deal in a statement, adding that it will bring the school district’s minimum wage up to $22.52 an hour.
The three-day strike by LAUSD workers ran Tuesday through Thursday, with teachers joining picket lines in solidarity, halting instruction for half a million students in the district during the walkout.
L.A. Mayor Karen Bass resigned as mediator Wednesday after District Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho accused the union of refusing to negotiate.
In a statement Friday, Carvalho thanked Bass “for his support and leadership in facilitating the negotiations.”
Striking workers and teachers returned to work on Friday as schools reopened for students.
The strike highlighted the issue of notoriously underpaid staff who serve as the backbone of schools across the country.
SEIU Local 99 says many of its members live in poverty as they struggle with inflation and high housing costs due to low wages or limited work hours.
While LAUSD is unique because of its size, the walkout may have lessons for other systems in the state, said Troy Flint, spokesman for the California School Boards Association.
“LAUSD could be the canary in the coal mine when you look at the potential for tough labor negotiations in school districts across California,” he said.
According to Flint, districts are dealing with staffing shortages and other challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while working to address other chronic issues, including student performance that preceded the pandemic. Additionally, emergency pandemic funding from the state is set to expire next year, which will further thin district finances after decades of underfunding, he said.
“It’s natural that employees want to be better compensated for the important work they do,” Flint said. “There’s a lot of tension between what districts want to do and what they have the ability to do.”
Leaders of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, which represents 35,000 educators, counselors and other workers, pledged solidarity with the strikers.
Experts say it’s unusual for different unions in the same school district to band together, but the unified labor action in Los Angeles could mark a turning point.
Teacher’s assistant Luz Varela said the workers felt they had to strike.
“I feel sad that we have to go through this because we’re missing our kids, but we’re doing it for our kids,” she said. “I think we deserve a little bit more. It’s not about the money. It’s about our future for our kids.”