Two of Los Angeles’ largest school district unions, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and Service Employees International Union Local 99 (SEIU), announced their plans to strike next week. The unions are demanding better pay and wider access to healthcare, among other improvements. The looming strike would result in more than 1,000 schools in the district closing Tuesday through Thursday, affecting approximately 565,000 students.
UTLA and SEIU have been negotiating for months, seeking 30% raises, an increase in full-time work hours, additional staffing, and the right to file complaints about mistreatment or harassment. This strike would be the first since 2019 when workers went on strike for six days, after unsuccessful negotiations lasting 20 months. The previous strike earned the backing of many Democrats inside and outside of the city.
After 96% of the workers approved the strike, SEIU organized the strike which has the backing of UTLA. The total number of striking workers will be approximately 65,000. Janette Verbera, an LAUSD special education assistant, said, “I’m ready to strike for the respect we deserve. How do we properly service our students when we are being overworked and underpaid and disrespected?”
UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz added, “In a school district where 86% of students live in poverty and staff salaries aren’t nearly enough to pay rent or put food on the table, we are proud to stand alongside the members of SEIU Local 99 as we demand an end to the hoarding of resources and call on LAUSD to make investments today necessary to secure our success tomorrow.”
LAUSD Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, apologized to families and students, tweeting, “You deserve better. Know that we are doing everything possible to avoid a strike.” However, LAUSD declined to comment further on the matter, as did UTLA and SEIU.
The potential strike arises amidst a growing need to address systemic inequalities in compensation and access to healthcare. For the betterment of the students, staff, and the city, it is imperative that the negotiations result in a fair and just agreement for all parties involved.#Looming #LASUD #Strike #Wages #Means #Schools #Close