Los Angeles Schools to Shut Down After Workers Vow to Strike

LOS ANGELES — Tens of thousands of school workers in Los Angeles will begin a three-day strike starting Tuesday, forced hundreds of schools to close and cancel classes for 422,000 students.

The union representing 30,000 support workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District is seeking a 30% pay increase, saying many employees earn less than minimum wage and struggle to cover the cost of living in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Southern California.

The Los Angeles teachers union has asked its 35,000 members to take to the streets in solidarity and avoid crossing barriers of support staff.

“We must officially announce that all schools across LAUSD will be closed to students tomorrow,” Alberto Carvalho, superintendent, said on Twitter Monday night.

The announcement came shortly after unions supporting staff and teachers in the district said they would be out on Tuesday morning.

Earlier that same day, leaders of Los Angeles Unified, the second largest school district in the nation, said they were working around the clock to prevent a strike. In recent days, though, they’ve urged parents to start making childcare arrangements as both support staff and teachers have had to close more than 1,000 schools.

The strike has forced families to scramble and rekindled the frustration many parents feel about the prolonged school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some parents are able to care for their children by working remotely, but many have jobs that require them to be present at work outside of the home.

Here’s what we know about the walk.

Disputes involving Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents people who work for Los Angeles Unified in a variety of non-teaching jobs, such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers self-service, special education assistant and gardener. The union announced Monday afternoon that its members will go on strike for three days, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents teachers and some other district employees, is not a party to the labor dispute, but said its members will not cross Local boundaries. 99.

Carvalho, who became superintendent just over a year ago, said the strike would be the first joint protest by the district’s two largest unions.

Local 99 says it is calling for a limited strike this week to protest the district’s unfair negotiating tactics, rather than calling for a general strike over wages and working conditions. According to the law, the union he saidThis type of strike comes with the protections available to striking workers, but must be for a certain period of time and cannot be left open.

Los Angeles Unified asked the state on Friday to block the planned strike, arguing that the union was actually opposing pay, not a bargaining tactic, and that they hadn’t used it all up. Negotiating steps necessary before going on strike on economic issues.

A state council said over the weekend that it would not impose a ban on strikes.

So far, Karen Bass, the new mayor of Los Angeles, and Governor Gavin Newsom of California, both Democrats, have not been involved in the dispute. Unlike in some cities, the mayor of Los Angeles does not control a school district run by an independently elected board.

Newsom discussed the strike with Ms. Bass and is receiving updates from the union and the school district, said Anthony York, Newsom’s spokesman. But the governor has no immediate plans to get involved in the negotiations, York said.

Contract negotiations between Local 99 and Los Angeles Unified began in April 2022, and Local 99 announced in December that negotiations were reaching an impasse, according to the union. Its members voted overwhelmingly in February to allow the strike.

Max Arias, executive director of Local 99, said its members “knew that the strike would be a sacrifice, but the school district pushed workers to take the action.

union is look for an overall gain of 30 percent; an extra $2 an hour for the lowest paid workers; and other salary increases. Local 99 says its workers earn an average salary of $25,000 a year. The district has said that this number includes part-time as well as full-time employees.

ONE counter-proposal from the district on Friday including a 20 percent pay raise over several years and a 5 percent one-time bonus. Some payments will be retroactive.

Mr. Arias said the union was steadfast in its demands for a 30% increase in wages and an extra $2 an hour for the lowest paid workers.

“They ignored us,” he said of the district, in an interview Monday.

The teachers union is also discussing a contract with the district, but it has not called a protest of its own, other than saying it will honor Local 99 protest lines this week. The district’s latest recommendations for teachers include a 5% increase for this school year, a 6% increase for next year, and a 3% increase for the 2024-25 school year. October 2022, teachers union call for 20 percent salary increase.

In 2019, the teachers union in LA Unified went on strike for the first time in 30 years. Schools remain open, but attendance rates are low.

Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, was mayor of Los Angeles at the time, Step in to help broker a deal to end the walk.

Later that year, the teachers went on strike for a week in Oakland and a day in Sacramento. Staff, teachers, staff hang out in Sacramento in 2022reached an agreement with the administrators about an increase in pay and benefits after eight days.

In the fall, the University of California’s 48,000 union employees, most of them recent graduates, quit for almost six weeks. They guarantee significant increases in starting wages, higher pay scales for experienced workers, and additional compensation for those working in particularly expensive California cities.

According to Kent Wong, director of UCLA’s Labor Center, strikes, particularly by teachers and education staff, have become increasingly common over the past six years, reflecting widespread employee frustration. employees with low wages, poor working conditions and growing income inequality. Public support for organized labor is at a level 50-year high in the US.

Furthermore, the nation has recently experienced its highest inflation rate since the 1980s. And educators have seen some private sector employees successfully negotiate for pay. more money as employers struggle to hire and retain qualified employees.

“Those who are working are very disgruntled because this is not working for them,” said Mr. Wong. “The rise of workers’ organization and the rise of worker strikes are absolutely a sign of the times.”

School district officials announced last week that student supervision will be provided at Some schools from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the strike period. Eighteen Los Angeles County recreation centers will provide free games, open gyms and computer labs for children to use from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during school closures. job.

In addition to supervising children, a major concern is making sure they are getting enough to eat. The district provides free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of income, and many children rely on those meals during the school week. Most students attending Los Angeles County come from low-income households.


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