LAUSD workers strike for better treatment of support staff

Workers from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second-largest school district, went on a three-day strike March 21. 

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 represents 30,000 LAUSD custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other support staff. They initiated the strike in pursuit of equitable wage increases, more full-time work, respectful treatment and increased staffing levels for improved student services. 

The specific demands by the union include a 30% pay raise with an additional two dollars an hour over the next four years and increased employment hours for part-time workers. 

The United Teachers Los Angeles, a union of approximately 35,000 teachers, counselors, therapists, nurses and librarians also participated in solidarity with the support staff. 

With LAUSD employees striking en masse, classes were canceled for over 565,000 students throughout the school district. Only 200 schools were left open with limited supervision, while more than 1,000 schools were completely closed during the strike.

March 24, a tentative deal was struck between SEIU and the LAUSD. Its terms included salary increases of 6% retroactive to July 1, 2021, 7% retroactive to July 1, 2022 and a 7% ongoing wage increase effective July 1, 2023. As well, all employees would receive a $2 per hour increase, effective January 1, 2024, and the LAUSD minimum wage would rise to $22.52 per hour. 

Current employees that worked for the district during the 2020-21 school year will also receive a $1,000 appreciation bonus. Additionally, the LAUSD promised increased hours and pay for paraprofessionals, along with an investment of $3 million towards an Education and Professional Development Fund for SEIU members.