Los Angeles Unified Staff Union Prepares for January Strike

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A national representing thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) staffers are gearing up for a onslaught successful January, according to national officials.

SEIU Local 99 represents 30,000 LAUSD unit including cafeteria workers, autobus drivers, custodians, and peculiar acquisition assistants. A onslaught could disrupt transportation, meal and luncheon schedules, and peculiar acquisition classes for the district’s 430,000 students.

The national announced it is seeking third-party mediation with LAUSD successful a press release past week aft declaring its negotiations for accrued wage and full-time hours with territory officials person reached an impasse. The national appears to person filed for mediation with the California Public Employment Relations Board Dec. 29, according to committee records.

Earlier this period the national besides announced plans to clasp a strike authorization vote aboriginal successful 2023, allowing its bargaining squad to telephone for a ballot to onslaught if a declaration statement cannot beryllium reached.

Union Executive Director Max Arias said that striking would beryllium the “last option,” but that the national is “preparing to instrumentality beardown action.”

“Even though we are hopeful, implicit the past respective months LAUSD has shown nary effort to genuinely determination workers retired of poorness and code dire staffing shortages successful our schools,” Arias said successful a Dec. 21 statement.

A spokesperson for LAUSD said successful a Dec. 14 connection that negotiations are continuing.

“We are committed to compensating our employees reasonably successful this existent economical environment, portion besides preserving our quality to supply services to our students successful a sustainable mode that promotes lasting pupil achievement,” the spokesperson said.

Mari Barke, an Orange County Board of Education trustee and a manager of acquisition astatine the nonprofit California Policy Center, told the Epoch Times she believes a onslaught could origin excessive disruption successful schools, starring to much learning nonaccomplishment for students who are inactive struggling to drawback up from the pandemic.

“It would beryllium large to spot students’ acquisition arsenic a precedence alternatively than national demands,” she said. “Our students person been done truthful overmuch implicit the past fewer years successful summation to the learning nonaccomplishment – a onslaught could pb to schoolhouse closures and much schoolroom clip lost.”

Lance Christensen, vice president of Education Policy for California Policy Center, expressed the aforesaid concern, particularly regarding disruptions a onslaught could origin regarding students’ transportation, meals and cleanable schools.

“If you disrupt each those pieces, there’s nary mode that teachers tin thatch successful that circumstance,” Christensen told the Epoch Times. “It’s a coordinated effort betwixt the teachers [union] and SEIU to marque this hap to thrust up the request for immoderate things they want.”

Christensen added that the “staff shortage” astatine LAUSD is apt owed to the district’s wide layoff of unvaccinated employees past November – wherever the territory fired 800 unit members for non-compliance with its empoyee vaccine mandate.

“The unit shortage [happened when] LAUSD fired a full clump of radical for not getting a vaccination,” helium said. “That was a large portion of it.”

The union’s connection requests “good wage increases”—though it does not specify amounts—with increases astatine the 10th twelvemonth and includes a alleged “Me Too” clause—meaning if immoderate different LAUSD bargaining portion receives a wage increase, the national would person 1 arsenic well.

Other benefits the national is seeking are full-time hours, wage for mandatory grooming and certifications required for work, nary divided shifts, and substitute alleviation for absent coworkers. It besides requests the territory notify and bargain with the national earlier changing schedules and hours.

Currently, LAUSD is offering a 5 percent summation oregon $1.50 per hr for 2022–23, whichever is greater, and a one-time 4 percent bonus. For the pursuing year, the territory offered the aforesaid wage increase, and a 5 percent one-time bonus, according to the union.

The territory has besides offered an further $2 per hr for peculiar acquisition assistants.

Micaela Ricaforte