Santa Monica Malibu Unified members were on the frontlines disinfecting schools throughout the pandemic, preparing campuses for students’ safe return, and helping families in need. They were deemed essential workers, but the district would not recognize their work with hero pay. Members never gave up. They shared their stories, spoke out at school board meetings, signed petitions, and stood strong at the bargaining table. It paid off. On June 11, members ratified a new agreement that secures hero pay.