The beginning of 2023 was met with many strikes and threatened strikes, and unionized workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) followed suit by conducting a three-day strike in the middle of last week from Tuesday through Thursday.
The school district canceled classes because of the strike by bus drivers, custodians and other staff, which workers are represented by the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99. The school closures affected 500,000 students during the three days.
LAUSD and Local 99 reached a tentative agreement on the Friday following the strike, which was reported by The Hill.
LAUSD agreed with the union to do the following:
- A $1,000 bonus to any employees who were working for the district during the 2020-2021 academic year as recognition of “adverse circumstances” due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- The minimum wage will be set at $22.52 per hour
- Retroactive pay increases in July and January that would increase pay by almost 30%
- Healthcare benefits for employees (and qualified dependents) who work at least four hours a day
- $3 million for a professional development fund for union members
LAUSD Superintendent Albert Carvalho gladhanded himself and Local 99 when he said, “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.” Carvalho added, “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.”
The teachers’ union in Los Angeles, California, the United Teachers Los Angeles, picketed with the striking workers in a show of unity among labor unions.
LAUSD and Local 99 thanked Los Angeles Mayor, Karen Bass, for her involvement to get the two sides to an agreement. Bass, a Democrat, posted on Twitter, “Together, we take a step forward for the young people of Los Angeles.”
It is expected that the LAUSD school board and Local 99’s members will approve the new contract.