The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) received a 10-day notice from school workers, Wednesday, saying they intend to end their current contract and move toward a strike.
The notice comes after 96% of the nearly 30,000 school employees represented by Service Employees International United, Local 99 (SEIU-99), voted to move forward with a strike if both sides could not reach a contract agreement.
“Los Angeles Unified is disappointed that SEIU is walking away from negotiations with so much on the table,” LAUSD said in a statement. “We want to do right by our employees, which is why Superintendent [Albert] Carvalho made one of the strongest offers ever proposed by a Los Angeles Unified Superintendent, offering historic compensation increases and benefits aligned with SEIU’s requests.”
The district said the proposed contract included a more than 15% ongoing wage increase, a 9% retention bonus, equity adjustments for those earning fewer than $30 per hour, health benefits for part-time employees and a $20 minimum wage, which would be higher than both the county and state’s minimum.
SEIU called the proposed contract a “step forward,” but continue to ask for a 30% raise plus a $2 per hour equity wage increase.
“Workers are fed-up with living on poverty wages – and having their jobs threatened for demanding equitable pay! Workers are fed-up with the short staffing at LAUSD – and being harassed for speaking up,” Max Arias, SEIU Local 99 Executive Director said in a statement. “Canceling our contract is not a decision we make lightly, but it’s clear that LAUSD does not respect or value the work of essential workers in our schools.”
The union and its thousands of represented bus drivers, custodial staff, teacher aides, cafeteria workers and after school workers, have planned a March 15 protest at Grand Park in front of L.A. City hall, a day before the end of the 10-day notice.
LAUSD said it is preparing for the “unavoidable impact” a strike would bring to this district.
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