Los Angeles school workers strike closes second largest school district in US for 3 days News
Mike Chickey, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Los Angeles school workers strike closes second largest school district in US for 3 days

For three days, starting Tuesday, hundreds of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in California will be closed due education faculty and staff’s strike for increased wages and better conditions. Members of United Teacher Los Angeles (UTLA) joined Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 members during the first day of strike action at nearly 500 schools.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 stated in a tweet that there would be a three day strike to protest “unfair practices.” SEIU Local 99 demands a 30 percent wage increase, the right to file grievances over disrespectful treatment and harassment and greater staffing, among other demands. At this time, SEIU Local 99 is no longer negotiating with LAUSD.

Superintendent of LAUSD Alberto Carvalho said of the protest, “We remain ready to return to negotiations with SEIU Local 99 so we can provide an equitable contract to our hardworking employees and get out students back in the classroom.” Carvalho previously said that “One day out of school is one day too many” for LAUSD students.

Negotiations first began in April 2022. LAUSD offered SEIU Local 99 a proposal for a five percent, six percent and three percent “on-schedule wage increase” to be applied to pay scales for the current, 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years. So far, negotiations have failed. On March 17, after the most recent round of negotiations failed and SEIU Local 99 announced their intention to strike. LAUSD attempted to file charges against SEIU, claiming the strike was unlawful. However, on March 19, the California Public Employment Relations Board rejected the charges.

On March 20, SEIU Local 99 released a statement, which read in part:

This afternoon, SEIU Local 99 had agreed to enter a confidential mediation process with LAUSD to try and address our differences. Unfortunately, LAUSD broke that confidentiality by sharing it with the media before our bargaining team, which makes all decisions, had a chance to discuss how to proceed. This is yet another example of the school district’s continued disrespect of school workers. We are ready to strike.

LAUSD is the second largest school district in the US. SEIU Local 99 is a union in Los Angeles, California that represents some 50,000 education workers in K-12 schools, early education centers and homes, and community colleges, including 30,000 cafeteria workers, special education assistants, custodians, bus drivers and others providing essential student services. 96 percent of SEIU Local 99 members voted in favor of the strike.