LAUSD unions: Three-day SEIU-led strike could begin next week
Union leaders in Los Angeles Unified School District announced that they have scheduled a three-day strike to begin on Tuesday.
The announcement, reported by the Los Angeles Times, was made Wednesday evening during a joint rally between the LAUSD’s two largest employee unions. Thousands wearing red and purple union colors turned out at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, according to the Times.
The strike would be led by Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, whose 30,000 members include bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers. The union representing teachers, United Teachers Los Angeles, has urged its members to walk out in solidarity with those employees. Together, the two unions represent about 65,000 workers in the district.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has said schools would temporarily close if workers strike. He said district negotiators are prepared to meet around the clock to avert this scenario. He sent an automated phone message to parents asking them to begin discussions with employers and child care providers now.
“I have two, three, four chairs around the table,” Carvalho said at a news conference Wednesday morning, “and I commit myself 24/7, day and night, to find a solution that will avoid, will avert a strike that will avoid keeping kids home, will avoid kids from going hungry in our community without access to the food they get in school.”
SEIU members are seeking a 30% wage increase, a $2 per hour raise, more hours, health insurance and a stop to private contractors, LAist reports. The union says its members average $25,000 a year.
SEIU is “simply refusing to negotiate” despite a counteroffer from the district, Carvalho said, in a statement Wednesday evening.
“With a historic offer on the table that was created in direct response to SEIU’s demands, and with additional resources still to be negotiated, it is deeply surprising and disappointing that there is an unwillingness to do so,” he said.
Local 99 workers would be striking to protest what they allege are illegal actions by LAUSD during bargaining. Members who engaged in last month’s strike vote were subjected to “threats, interrogation and surveillance,” the union said in a statement. LAUSD officials have denied wrongdoing.
A three-day strike would mark the largest labor action in the district since the teachers’ strike in 2019, the Los Angeles Times notes.