Los Angeles, CA – SEIU Local 99, the union representing nearly 30,000 special education assistants, bus drivers, food service workers, custodians, and other essential workers at the Los Angeles Unified School District, has declared that contract negotiations with the school district are at a standstill and have reached an impasse. An official declaration will be filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board this week, moving negotiations into mediation.

“After months of negotiations, it’s clear that further bargaining with the school district will no longer be productive,” said Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99. “However, we are hopeful that through the mediation process LAUSD will move forward to significantly improve wages and increase full-time hours for workers providing essential student services.”

“Even though we are hopeful , over the past several months LAUSD has shown no effort to truly move workers out of poverty and address dire staffing shortages in our schools,” added Arias. “That is why  workers are continuing plans to hold a vote in January to authorize a strike.  A strike is the last option but workers are preparing to take strong action to improve their livelihoods and conditions for students in our schools.”

The average salary of school workers at LAUSD is $25,000/year and most work fewer than 8 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

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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.