An important Los Angeles Unified workers union is one step closer to a possibly disruptive strike. SEIU Local 99, which represents 30,000 custodians, cafeteria workers, special education assistants and other essential employees, gave LAUSD a 10-day notice on Tuesday to end its extended contract with the district, including its no strike provision.
SEIU Local 99 is pushing for increased wages, more staffing and expanded health care benefits as it negotiates with the district following the expiration of its last contract in 2020. That contract had been extended until now.
Union members took a strike vote in February, with 96% in favor of giving the bargaining team the power to declare a strike if the union and the district do not reach an agreement through the impasse process.
“Workers are fed-up with living on poverty wages — and having their jobs threatened for demanding equitable pay,” SEIU Local 99 executive director Max Arias said. “Workers are fed-up with the short staffing at LAUSD – and being harassed for speaking up.”
In a press release, LAUSD shared its frustration with the union’s decision to move closer to a strike, saying it “would cause a significant disruption to instruction, and would adversely impact our entire system.”
The district said its offerings included a 15% wage increase over three years, retroactive to July 2021. The district is also offering to bring its minimum wage to more than $20 an hour and to secure benefits for employees who work four or more hours a day, according to the district statement.
SEIU Local 99 is pushing for a 30% wage increase and an hourly increase of $2.
Kate Sequeira, EdSource, March 9, 2023