A strike that shuts down schools is bad for Los Angeles

Contract negotiations between the union representing cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other low-wage workers at Los Angeles Unified and district officials have stalled after nearly a year, and now the 30,000 SEIU Local 99 employees are planning a three-day strike beginning Tuesday. If they do, it could shut down all schools because teachers plan to walk out in solidarity.

That would have disastrous consequences on students in the second-largest school district at a time when they’re still struggling to overcome pandemic setbacks. District and union officials must see to it that this doesn’t happen.

Negotiations for a new contract began in April 2022 but have broken down amid complaints by union officials of unfair labor practices such as intimidation and surveillance of workers and assertions by LAUSD leaders that they are offering significantly higher wages and better health benefits and working conditions. LAUSD proposed a wage increase of slightly more than 15% over three years, as well as equity raises for employees making less than $30 an hour. The district is also offering one-time 9% retention bonuses, probably in response to an attrition rate of about 7,000 workers each year. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2023-03-16/la-ed-lausd-strike