After a three-day strike that closed hundreds of campuses and canceled classes for 422,000 kids earlier this week, the union representing those 30,000 education workers reached a tentative deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday.
Support staff in the district’s schools are represented by SEIU Local 99, which demanded a 30 percent salary raise, citing the high cost of living in Southern California as a major hardship for its members. Both the union and the school system revealed the settlement late Friday afternoon.
The Los Angeles teachers’ union called for a walkout of its 35,000 members to show sympathy for the striking support staff and to encourage its members to respect the picket lines. It’s estimated that as many as 65,000 people who work in schools took part in the strike.
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Schools reopened on Friday morning after the three-day strike ended and Local 99 reached a tentative contract agreement. The union claimed that the second-largest school district in the United States, Los Angeles Unified, had satisfied its primary concerns.
The complete union still needs to vote on the deal. Gardeners, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and special education aides are just some of the occupations represented by Local 99. Since July 1, 2020, they had been working without one.
The school system claims that the new agreement will go into effect on July 1, 2018 and remain in place until June 30, 2024. The district has announced that the minimum wage will increase to $22.52 per hour, and that workers will get a one-time increase of $1,000.
Union members will have access to a $3 million fund for higher education and career advancement. Los Angeles’ new mayor, Karen Bass (who took office in December), held a press conference on Friday to announce the agreement. Along with Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias.
Ms. Bass said that she had been actively involved in negotiations throughout the walkout but had chosen to remain in the background.
“We promised to honor the dignity of our workforce, correct inequities impacting the lowest-wage earners, continue supporting critical student services and protect the District’s financial viability,” Mr. Carvalho said on Twitter. “Promises made, promises delivered.”
When we started negotiating with SEIU, we promised to honor the dignity of our workforce, correct inequities impacting the lowest-wage earners, continue supporting critical student services and protect the District's financial viability. Promises made, promises delivered. https://t.co/Ntx5dgqiyT
— Alberto M. Carvalho (@LAUSDSup) March 25, 2023
Ms. Bass was credited by both parties with helping to broker the agreement.
“The majority of S.E.I.U. 99 workers don’t just work in our schools,” Ms. Bass said at the news conference. “They are L.A.U.S.D. parents as well.”
“And today, for too many hard-working people working full time, it’s just too hard to put a roof over their heads and put food on the table. This is about the high cost of living in Los Angeles. Los Angeles, as everybody knows, has become virtually unaffordable.”
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