Los Angeles school workers went on strike for 3 days

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Unified School District cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other workers will go on strike for three days next week, and their union says tens of thousands of teachers have vowed not to cross the picket line.

A strike at the nation’s second-largest school district is planned for next Tuesday through Thursday, Service Employees International Union Local 99 said.

The Los Angeles United Teachers union, which represents about 30,000 teachers, pledged not to cross the picket line, SEIU said in a statement.

District head Alberto M. Carvalho said in a letter to parents Monday that if a walkout occurs, the district may close schools without virtual education until the strike ends.

SEIU wants raises, full-time jobs and more staff to serve students. In addition to canteen workers, bus drivers and custodians, special education assistants are part of the union.

One of the goals of the three-day strike is to “show the district that we are tired of their disrespect and that we are not afraid to take drastic action to demand respect for our jobs,” the union said over the weekend.

The Los Angeles teachers union went on strike for seven days in 2019. The strike ended with an agreement on pay raises and a promise to reduce class sizes, among other issues.

The school district has more than 600,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade in more than 1,000 schools, it says on its website.

Carvalho, who was hired at the end of 2021 and will take office in February 2022, has called for the service union to return to the bargaining table. in a statement on Wednesday.

“SEIU is simply refusing to negotiate,” Carvalho said. He said the district made a “historic offer” to the union to meet its demands.

The service workers union says it has been negotiating with the district since April. It says the district relies too much on a part-time workforce.

The union is asking for a 30 percent increase in wages. The average salary for school employees in LAUSD is $25,000 a year, and most work part-time, SEIU said in a statement.

“Families have been sacrificed for too long for poverty wages,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias.

Carvalho said at a news conference Wednesday that the district will offer SEIU a 15% pay increase over time and a 10% bonus. He said the district would raise the minimum wage to more than $20 an hour, among other measures.

The school district said it has proposed a 5% pay increase through 2021; 5% for the year starting in 2022; and 5% for those starting in 2023; and one-time bonuses of 4% and 5% in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, respectively, among other measures.

SEIU Local 99 says it has 50,000 education workers as members, including more than 30,000 working in LAUSD schools.

Its members voted to authorize the strike in February.

The strike announcement came on a day when teachers and others rallied in the Grand Park area of ​​downtown Los Angeles, NBC Los Angeles reported.

Associated Press contributed.

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