Monday, June 30, 2014
Blanca Gallegos, SEIU Local 99
$15 per hour minimum wage will lift thousands of families out of poverty
Los Angeles—Cafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants, campus safety monitors, and other school service workers represented by SEIU Local 99 have reached a tentative contract agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District that includes a landmark minimum wage increase to $15 an hour over two years that will lift nearly 20,000 LAUSD school workers and their families out of poverty.
“Because nearly half of the school workers represented by SEIU Local 99 are parents of children attending LAUSD schools, this agreement also provides greater stability and increased opportunity for thousands of District students,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Courtni Pugh. “The agreement also marks one of the largest gains to date for low wage workers in the national ‘Fight for 15’ movement.”
“This historic agreement showcases how labor unions and school districts can work together for the good of our entire communities,” added Pugh. “It will change the lives of tens of thousands of working families and it will have a significant impact on closing the opportunity gap among low-income students. The impact of this agreement will be felt for years to come.”
“I believe this is a courageous agreement that benefits the students and families of our District,” said SEIU Local 99 President and LAUSD Special Education Assistant Barbara Torres. “It begins to restore many of the essential student services that were lost during years of cuts. It is a step in the right direction that will begin to lift SEIU Local 99 members and their children—many of them LAUSD students—out of poverty.”
“All of us who work for LAUSD truly care about the children in our schools. This agreement demonstrates that the District values our dedication to students and the impact that a good job has on our children,” said Claudia Duron, a Community Representative at Nueva Vista Elementary School and a mother of three children in LAUSD schools. “This wage increase will allow many of us to give our children more opportunities to succeed in school and in life.”
In addition to the minimum wage increase for workers earning below $15 an hour, the agreement includes increases totaling 6.64% for all other workers and other improvements that will have a direct impact on the quality of student services:
- Restoration of special education work hours lost in 2012 that will ensure students with the greatest needs receive the full care and attention they need;
- Increased staffing hours to ensure all students can learn in a safe, clean, and supportive environment;
- A process for expanding OASIS, a program spearheaded by SEIU Local 99 that offers services such as health care, counseling, and tutoring to students and their parents directly on LAUSD campuses.
SEIU Local 99 members will vote on the agreement June 30 through July 2.