SEIU Local 99 members are leading a 3-day strike from March 21 – 23 to protest the Los Angeles Unified School District’s unfair labor practices.
LAUSD has been misleading the public on why employees are striking. This strike is about respect for essential workers who have been treated as a second-class workforce by LAUSD for far too long.
During nearly a year of contract negotiations with LAUSD and, most recently, as workers voted to authorize a strike, they have been subjected to threats, harassment, surveillance, and interrogation about their participation in union activities. Dozens of unfair labor practices have been filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board against LAUSD’s unlawful activity, with more pending.
Workers have been interrogated about what they discussed in union meetings, threatened with termination if they participate in a strike, and have been demoted and forced to take a pay cut for their union activity. A member of the SEIU Local 99 bargaining team was also given a poor performance review for attending too many union meetings. In some of the most egregious cases, food service workers were locked in a cafeteria to prevent them from voting on a strike and a Special Education Assistant, six months pregnant at the time, was threatened with arrest and had police called into the school where she was providing updates on contract negotiations to her fellow union members. These incidents have been bolstered by LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s February 10th tweet, characterizing union activities as a “circus.”
If LAUSD is truly serious about negotiating, they must begin by addressing and recognizing the blatant harassment of workers who are exercising their legal right to demand improvements to their wages and work hours, and increased staffing for the student services they provide.