Teachers’ union strikes took place last year as school districts were reopening to in-person classes, and it looks like a Los Angeles-area union of school workers are threatening to strike early in the new year. Cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants, and other workers are threatening a labor strike within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) sooner rather than later.
These workers are members of one of the most powerful labor unions in the country, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and are clamoring for pay raises and other concessions from LAUSD.
In a press release, SEIU said that its 30,000 members were not being served by LAUSD. SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias claimed, “LAUSD has stalled or outright rejected our proposals for clean, safe and supportive schools.” The last contract with LAUSD expired in 2020, but negotiations stopped between 2020-2022. Labor negotiations restarted in April 2022.
SEIU’s main argument is that LAUSD workers make an average of $25,000 a year and many of them work part-time shifts. SEIU says that the low salary has led to understaffing and the solution is the raise salaries for union members.
But SEIU missed an opportunity to point out that school administrators make six-figure salaries, while other school workers make pennies compared to that. Also, the labor union did not acknowledge that if their workers go on strike, it will curb LAUSD’s ability to serve food to students, transport students, and meet the needs of special education students.