Press Release for February 22, 2021
Contact: Blanca Gallegos – firstname.lastname@example.org; 213-500-9594
LOS ANGELES, CA – School workers with the Los Angeles Unified School District, including custodians, food service workers, truck drivers and other essential workers represented by SEIU Local 99 have reached an agreement with the school district that begins the expansion of student services in preparation for the safe re-opening of schools for in-person instruction.
The agreement between SEIU Local 99 and LAUSD reopens school-based services that were shut down on December 10, 2020 when LAUSD imposed a safer-at-home order in response to a winter surge in COVID-19 cases. It also begins a process for returning thousands more custodians, food service workers, after school workers and others to campuses to prepare schools for the eventual reopening to students.
“As education workers, we understand it is urgent to restore services to students – especially the most vulnerable. We believe this agreement begins to lay the groundwork for a safe return to in-person instruction while balancing the health and safety of students, school workers and the entire school community,” said Max Arias, SEIU Local 99 Executive Director.
Highlights of the agreement include:
Essential workers will have priority for the vaccine. Workers currently working at the Grab and Go food sites, district warehouses and testing, vaccination and childcare centers will be the first to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
Safety for All. All other workers required to return to work on-site will first be given the opportunity to take the COVID-19 vaccine. No one will be required to return to a school or worksite without first being offered the vaccine. Additionally, workers who are required to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 will receive emergency paid sick leave.
Support for vulnerable students. School workers will support expanded services to special needs students, foster youth, English language learners, homeless students and others who have been most impacted by learning loss. According to the agreement, the district has set a goal of re-opening schools to vulnerable students beginning on March 4, with additional sites opening on March 8. This schedule is pending all school workers first being offered the vaccine.
Hero Pay. All workers required to report to a worksite will be paid an additional $5/hour. This will continue until in-person instruction resumes and all employees are required to return to school.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 is a union of nearly 50,000 education workers in K-12 schools, early education and care, administrative offices, and community colleges throughout Southern California, including nearly 30,000 teacher assistants, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers and others providing essential student services at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Nearly 50% of SEIU Local 99 members are also parents or guardians of school-aged children.