Strike at LAUSD Schools: What Parents and Students Need to Know

Strike at LAUSD Schools: What Parents and Students Need to Know

  • US News
  • March 16, 2023
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A three-day strike planned by Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and school staff is looming and is scheduled for next week.

The expected strike would be the longest complete disruption to education in the country’s second-largest school system since the six-day teachers’ strike of 2019, and would upend a school system trying to recover from the pandemic.

The strike would close schools attended by more than 420,000 students.

Here’s what you need to know.

When would the strike take place?

It would start on Tuesday and last until Thursday next week.

Who would attend?

The strike would involve up to 65,000 workers.

The strike would be led by Local 99 of SEIU. Local 99 represents approximately 30,000 workers, including bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria and other hospitality workers, campus security assistants, teaching assistants, and student advisors with disabilities.

Local 99 would join a solidarity strike by UTLA, which represents 35,000 teachers, counselors, therapists, nurses and librarians.

what are the problems

Local 99 leaders recently declared an impasse in negotiations and are moving through the mediation and fact-finding process. The union, which has yet to resolve wage issues from the 2020-21 school year, is targeting a 30 per cent increase for all members, with an additional increase for the lowest paid workers.

The district is offering a 5% ongoing pay increase retroactive to July 1, 2021, an additional 5% ongoing pay increase retroactive to July 1, 2022, and a 5% pay increase beginning July 1, 2023. Employees would receive a one-time “retention bonus” of 4% for the current school year and a one-time bonus of 5% for the following year.

The teachers’ union is targeting a 20% pay increase over two years, starting with 10% for the current school year.

Local 99 leaders said their strike was a protest against alleged illegal actions by LA Unified during the negotiation process. Such actions, which the National Labor Relations Board calls an “unfair labor practice” strike, typically last a set duration and can be staged without going through the negotiation steps that normally precede an open-ended strike, unions say.

LA Unified officials have denied wrongdoing.

What does LAUSD say?

Los Angeles Schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho said he and district negotiators are ready to meet 24 hours a day to avert the strike.

He said a strike would further harm more than 420,000 students trying to recover academically and emotionally from the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced them into distance learning for more than a year.

Officials said there was still time to avert a strike, but some turned pessimistic.

School board president Jackie Goldberg – who had previously expressed optimism there would be no strike – appeared less certain on Wednesday.

“It’s the first time since I’ve been doing this that there’s no back and forth,” Goldberg said. “There was a statement of, ‘That’s it. And that’s it.’ These are not negotiations. That makes me very disappointed.”

How would it affect the students?

Schools would be closed during a strike.

Carvalho said in an email to families. “We simply wouldn’t have a way to ensure a safe environment for classes to take place. We will give you as much advance notice as possible, but we encourage you to start discussions with your employer, childcare workers and others now.”

He added that the district is discussing with community groups how they can help distribute school-day meals and provide childcare for families. The district is also preparing academic materials for students to take home, he said.

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