The Los Angeles School District (LAUSD) and its essential workers reached a new contract agreement Friday after a three-day strike forced a shut down of all schools.
The contract was years in the making, as workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 99 (SEIU-99) sought wage increases, more staff support and health insurance for part-time employees.
Negotiations between LAUSD and SEIU-99 reached an impasse this year, which eventually led to a three-day strike and all schools in the district shutting down in that time.
On the final day of the strike Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass met with both sides in an attempt to help reach an agreement.
“On behalf of all SEIU Local 99 members, including the 30,000 members we represent at LAUSD, appreciate Mayor Bass for stepping in and allowing us to find a pathway to communicate and reach an agreement that is historic at LAUSD,”SEIU 99 Executive Director Max Arias said in a press conference Friday. “I also want to appreciate the 30,000 members that sacrificed three days of work, despite low income, to raise the issue… that we as all society need to do better for all workers.”
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho explained some of the terms of the new contract, including a 20% raise with a $2 per hour increase taking effect on January 2024. A breakdown of the raise shows a 6% ongoing increase retroactive to July 1, 2021, a 7% ongoing increase retroactive to July 1, 2022 and an 7% ongoing increase expected for July 1 of this year.
The minimum wage for employees will now be $22.53, which outpaces not only the city, but the state’s minimum wage standard.
Workers who worked through the pandemic in the 2020-2021 school year will also be receiving a $1,000 bonus.
The district will invest $3 million in an Education and Professional Development Fund for SEIU members, and an increase in hours and compensation will be given to paraprofessionals who work with special needs students.
All employees working a minimum of four hours per day will be given access to healthcare through the district, not only for themselves, but also their dependents.
“I am appreciative of SEIU Local 99’s leadership for coming back to the table to negotiate an agreement that addresses the needs of our employees and brings students back to the classroom,” Superintendent Carvalho said. “We also thank Mayor Bass for her support and leadership in facilitating negotiations. When we started negotiating with SEIU, we promised to deliver on three goals. We wanted to honor and elevate the dignity of our workforce and correct well-known, decades-long inequities impacting the lowest-wage earners. We wanted to continue supporting critical services for our students. We wanted to protect the financial viability of the District for the long haul. Promises made, promises delivered.”
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.