Los Angeles Unified School District workers have approved a new labor deal, following a three-day strike over wages and staffing that caused disruption to one of the largest school systems in the United States. The Service Employees International Union, Local 99 chapter, announced the approval of the agreement last week, which includes a 30% wage increase for workers earning an average of $25,000 annually, a $1,000 bonus for those who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expanded family health care benefits.
Thousands of workers, backed by teachers, went on strike in March, protesting outside the school district’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles as contract talks had stalled. The workers were demanding better wages and increased staffing for bus drivers, cafeteria workers, teachers’ aides, and other employees represented by the union.
Los Angeles Mayor, Karen Bass, expressed her gratitude to the school district and the union for reaching a resolution following the strike. She also noted the city must continue working to address its high cost of living, create more opportunities, and increase funding for Los Angeles’ public schools, which are the most powerful determinant of the city’s future.
The new contract still requires approval by the school district’s Board of Education, and the vote is expected to take place at a meeting scheduled for April 18.
If approved, the new labor deal would bring much-needed relief to the workers who have been struggling to make ends meet, especially given the high cost of living in Los Angeles. The 30% wage increase would be a significant boost, lifting the average annual salary of $25,000 to $32,500. The $1,000 bonus for those who worked during the pandemic recognizes the sacrifices made by the workers, who continued to show up and perform their duties during a challenging time.
The expanded family health care benefits would also provide relief to the workers and their families. Access to quality health care is essential, and this benefit would help ensure that the workers can take care of their health needs without worrying about the cost.
The strike caused significant disruption to the Los Angeles Unified School District, which serves over 600,000 students. The agreement between the workers and the school district would help bring stability to the system and ensure that students can continue to receive the education they deserve.
The labor deal would be a win-win for both the workers and the school district, providing much-needed relief to the former while ensuring that the latter can continue to provide quality education to its students. The approval of the contract by the school district’s Board of Education is the next step in this process, and all eyes will be on the meeting scheduled for April 18.