LAUSD workers begin 3-day strike and close schools

LAUSD workers begin 3-day strike and close schools

Tens of thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District workers will launch a three-day strike that will close schools in the nation’s second-largest district.

The strike, announced by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents some 30,000 teacher aides, bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers and other support staff, joined the union representing 35,000 teachers, counselors and other staff.

After days of negotiations, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho released the final details of the negotiations and the start of a workers’ strike that will close schools for three days.

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho warned that unlike a six-day strike in 2019 over wages and contracts, schools will likely close this time.

“We would simply have no way of ensuring a safe and secure environment where teaching could take place,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho also indicated that there will be no access to distance learning options. The district announced that several resources would be available for families, including limited child supervision, extended hours of operation for the parks program, information sessions and take-out sites.

After a weekend of negotiations, all signs on Monday pointed to the likelihood of a work stoppage. The superintendent pleaded with Local 99 to come back to the bargaining table.

“We must not deprive our students of the opportunity to learn,” Carvalho said in a statement Monday morning. “With hours to go, I continue to call on union leaders to resume negotiations. We can find a solution that dignifies our workforce and prevents unnecessary school closures while protecting long-term viability. term of the school system.”

The union planned to begin picketing at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday at a bus station in Van Nuys. Union leaders have scheduled a 7 a.m. press conference Wednesday at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, followed by a 1 p.m. press conference rally at LAUSD headquarters.

“A pesar de las declaraciones engañosas de LAUSD en los medios y las amenazas contra los trabajadores que ejercen su derecho a tomar medidas, nuestro movimiento solo se está fortaleciendo”, dijo el director ejecutivo de SEIU Local 99, Max Arias, en un comunicado el Monday. “Teachers, students and parents across the district support school workers and their right to act, without fear, to negotiate better pay and more staff in our schools.”

SEIU said district support staff earn an average of about $25,000 a year and many live in poverty due to low pay or limited work hours as they battle inflation and cost. high housing in Los Angeles County. The union is asking for a 30% raise. The teachers want a 20% salary increase in two years.

Thousands of LAUSD workers are in downtown Los Angeles demanding better wages.

The district made what it called a historic offer to the SEIU of a partially retroactive $15 salary increase and 9% retention bonuses.

The district has over 500,000 students. Serves Los Angeles and all or part of 25 other cities and unincorporated county areas.

SEIU members have been working without contracts since June 2020 and teachers’ contracts expired in June 2022. The unions decided last week not to accept any further extensions to their contracts.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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