In the States: Nearly 65,000 LA Unified School District Employees Go on Strike
The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.
This week, the nation’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, will cancel classes for its nearly 422,000 students as nearly 65,000 school district employees begin a three day strike. The dispute involves Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents people who work for Los Angeles Unified in a variety of nonteaching positions — bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and paraprofessionals among others. The union represents 30,000 employees who are seeking a 30% pay raise — citing the increasing costs of living in Southern California. For context, the average Local 99 SEIU employee makes only $25,000 per year. The Los Angeles teachers’ union has asked its 35,000 members to join the walk out in solidarity and to avoid crossing the support workers’ picket lines. The joint walkout of marks the first of its kind for the district and is limited to three days.
“After nearly a year of bargaining, LAUSD has shown no effort to truly move essential workers out of poverty and address dire staffing shortages in our schools … Furthermore, throughout the bargaining process and the strike vote, workers have been subjected to surveillance, intimidation and harassment by the school district … and its these issues that justify a strike.”
School district officials reportedly increased their offer in a series of moves over several days. By Saturday, the offer was, according to the district, a cumulative 23% raise, starting with 2% retroactive as of the 2020-21 school year and ending with 5% in 2024-25. The package was reported to also include a one-time 3% bonus for those who have worked since 2020-21, along with expanded hours, more full-time positions and improved eligibility for healthcare.
The district said that during the strike families would be able to pick up six grab-and-go meals for each student on Tuesday from specific food distribution sites — intended to cover breakfast and lunch for three days. Students will also have access to instructional material and on-demand tutoring during the three day strike.
Tags: state policy