<strong>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE</strong>
Blanca Gallegos, Communications Director
213.387.8393 x219 | firstname.lastname@example.org
<strong>Tuesday, September 22, 2009</strong>
LOS ANGELES — As a result of a historic agreement announced today between the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99, Unit C, all school bus drivers will take six furlough days, a pay cut worth $1 million as a partial solution to address the current budget shortfall. In exchange, the District will restore the hours of 192 full-time drivers. Bus Drivers transport close to 55,000 students every day, primarily thoe who attend magnet schools, transer ouf of their neighborhood school as part of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements, as well as many who have special needs.
“We have been talking about shared sacrifice and shared solutions all along,” said Monica Garcia, LAUSD Board President. “Well, here it is! This is what we were talking about. Our Bus Drivers are to be commended for partnering with the District in addressing our current budget crisis with a creative solution. I would hope that other bargaining units take note of this agreement. Working together we can find solutions that are creative and collborative and work for all of us.”
“While unpaid days off are a sacrifice for our families, we understand it is a necessary sacrifice to protect good jobs in this hard economy and to secure services to students,” said Edward Reed, an LAUSD Bus Driver and President of SEIU Local 99. “This agreement means more bus routes won’t be cut. It means full time jobs are protected now – and into the future. Adn it means the District saves $1 million. It is an examle of what can be done when we work cooperatively for real solutions.”
“I want to express my gratitude for the leadership of Local 99. It is the first of our bargaining units to make a costly sacrifice to help fellow employees during this deep and on-going economic crisis,” LAUSD Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said.
“This agreement represents what can happen when the District and its bargaining units work together,” said Cortines. “I want to thank SEIU Local 99 Unit C for stepping up and being the first to help the District during these extremely difficult times. They have certainly set an example for others unions to follow.”
The union offered furlough days after the District had elected to reduce the hours of full-time drivers from 8 to 7 per work day, in response to several rounds of severe state budget cuts. So far, the LAUSD Transportation Department has been forced to cut $28 million for the 2009-10 school year. As a result, over 150 routes have been eliminated, travel time has been extended to a maximum of 90 minutes one way from 75 minutes and school buses are only provided to middle school and high school students who live more than three miles instead of two miles from the school.
The agreement, a result of lengthy negotiations between LAUSD and the union, applies only to the current academic year for all 1,092 full-time and part-time bus drivers.
<span style=”color: #888888;”>SEIU Local 99 is a union of more than 43,000 dedicated education workers who guide our children from preschool and kindergarten, through grade school, high school, and at community colleges. We are teachers, paraeducators, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, first responders, and others working in schools, colleges, and administrative offices throughout Southern California. We are part of SEIU International, the fastest-growing union in North America with 2.1 million members.</span>