Statement from Max Arias, SEIU Local 99 Executive Director on the testimony of AFT President Randi Weingarten before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic

Los Angeles, CA – School custodians, food service workers, bus drivers and thousands of other SEIU Local 99 members who remained on the frontlines during the pandemic stand with AFT President Randi Weingarten as she testifies before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. It is an outrage that she must defend the work of education workers who were hailed as heroes and supported entire school communities during an unprecedented crisis.

As schools shut down in March, 2020, it was clear that essential school support was vital to the wellbeing of students and their families. Union members rose to the challenge. SEIU Local 99 members prepared and delivered thousands of grab-and-go meals. Custodians were essential to disinfecting schools and safely implementing new cleaning protocols. Bus drivers delivered computers, hot-spots, and other technology to support remote learning. Building Engineers replaced thousands of air filters in classrooms and other facilities to ensure the safe return of students to in-person instruction.

As students continue to recover from learning loss and the devastating toll that the pandemic had on their mental health, we call on the members of the subcommittee to work with frontline education workers to support students and communities. Instead of a misguided hearing, let’s discuss improved funding for our public schools, increased support for special needs students and parents, and staffing standards that will ensure clean and safe schools for all.


SEIU Local 99 represents 50,000 education workers in K-12 schools, community colleges, early care and education and other educational settings including nearly 30,000 food service workers, custodians, special education assistants, teacher assistants, bus drivers and other essential workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


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