Los Angeles, CA – Hundreds of cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants and other essential school workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) rallied in front of LAUSD headquarters on December 13, 2022 to announce plans to hold a strike authorization vote early next year. A vote in support of a strike would authorize SEIU Local 99’s bargaining team to call for a strike if a contract agreement cannot be reached.
The contract covering nearly 30,000 school workers who perform essential student services at LAUSD expired in 2020. Negotiations were halted as many SEIU Local 99 members worked during the pandemic. Negotiations resumed in April, 2022.
“After months of bargaining, LAUSD has stalled or outright rejected our proposals for clean, safe and supportive schools. Workers are calling for living wage increases, equitable health care benefits and more full-time work to address the dire staffing shortages,” said Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99.
The average salary of school workers at LAUSD is $25,000/year and most work part-time hours, making it difficult to retain and recruit sufficient staff for student services. This is leading to serious staffing shortages, including:
- Insufficient teacher assistants, special education assistants and other instructional support to address learning loss and achievement gaps
- Substandard cleaning and disinfecting at schools because of lack of custodial staff
- Jeopardized campus safety due to overloaded campus aides and playground supervisors
- Limited enrichment, after school and parent engagement programs due to reduced work hours and lack of health care benefits for after school workers and community representatives
“LAUSD’s low wage and part-time hours make it difficult to recruit and retain staff and our students’ health and safety and learning suffer. And that’s why we’re sounding the alarm on LAUSD. Treat us with respect! Pay us what we are worth! Increase our work hours. If LAUSD doesn’t value our work. We’re ready to show them how important our work is! We don’t want to strike, but we will for clean, safe and supportive schools for all!,” said Conrado Guerrero, SEIU Local 99 President and Building Engineer with LAUSD.
SEIU Local 99 represents nearly 30,000 custodians, food service workers, teacher assistants, special education assistants, bus drivers, playground supervisors, after-school workers and other essential workers at the Los Angeles Unified School District.