LA School Labor Deal
The union representing 30,000 education workers reached a tentative deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday, following a three-day strike that had closed hundreds of campuses and canceled classes for 422,000 students earlier this week.
Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents support workers in the district, said that Los Angeles Unified, the second-largest school district in the nation, had met its key demands, including a 30 percent pay increase. The deal must still be voted on by the full union.
Local 99 members — who include gardeners, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and special education assistants — were joined by the Los Angeles teachers’ union, which is currently negotiating its own contract and had asked its 35,000 members to walk out in solidarity. All told, that meant as many as 65,000 school employees were part of the work stoppage.
The strike, which began on Tuesday, was limited to three days, and schools had already reopened on Friday morning, before Local 99 agreed to a tentative contract.
Local 99 members had been working without a contract since July 1, 2020. The new deal gives them a series of retroactive pay raises and runs through June 30, 2024, according to the school district.
The minimum wage will be set at $22.52 per hour, and workers employed as of June 30, 2021, will get a one-time $1,000 bonus, the district said. A $3 million educational and professional development fund for union members will also be created.
Mr. Arias said that his members’ salaries would increase by 15 percent upon ratification. After Jan. 1, their salaries would be about 30 percent higher than they were on Tuesday, when the strike began.
“This has the potential for transformational change,” he said in an interview on Friday night. “We want this to be a spark to rethink our schools, our values around education. When 65,000 education workers are telling the parents that we need to do this to improve the conditions, that’s powerful.”
This is why you have unions. It’s also worth noting that there was almost no anger from parents about this. They know what it’s like to live in Los Angeles. This is also part of the reason unions are so popular these days–they really represent real life issues, as opposed to some of the overreach of the 70s where they just angered everyday people through demands disconnected from the condition of other working people. You’d have to be a monster to be indifferent to some school workers going through intermittent homelessness. Or, you know, a Republican.
It also sounds like Karen Bass was working full time on getting a deal done here. This is what happens when you elect a good progressive mayor. Maybe Chicago and New York voters should learn something about this.