L.A. Unified faces ‘likely’ shutdown as thousands of employees plan to strike

Nearly 30,000 district employees will rally together this afternoon to announce a 3-day unfair practice charges strike, which will likely force the district to temporarily close with no remote instruction, according to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

District employees by the thousands will rally together this afternoon with plans to announce a three-day strike, likely forcing the nation’s second-largest school district to shut down for days without remote instruction.

SEIU Local 99, a coalition of nearly 30,000 Los Angeles Unified School District employees, plans to organize a 3-day unfair practice charges strike, according to its website. The union, which consists of teachers, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and others, is calling on the district to “use the district’s $4.9 billion in reserves to invest in staff, students and communities” to achieve 30% raises and $2 per hour equity wage increases.

“Workers are fed up with living on poverty wages—and having their jobs threatened for demanding equitable pay! Workers are fed-up with the short staffing at LAUSD—and being harassed for speaking up,” Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said in a statement.

The district has already offered more than a 15% raise, retention bonuses and raising the minimum wage to $20. But according to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, the union’s demands are not sustainable as ESSER fund deadlines loom.

“The truth is, we are between a rock and a hard place,” Carvalho wrote in a letter to parents, USA Today reports. “A strike would impact our students right now, but accepting all labor partners’ demands would mean future program cutbacks, possible job losses, or even bankruptcy. We simply cannot fund ongoing expenses with one-time funds such as federal pandemic aid.”

If the union agrees to strike, the district will most likely shut down, according to Carvalho, in order to ensure students are safe.

“If this strike does occur, despite our best efforts to avoid it, due to the anticipated lack of both teachers and school staff, it is likely we would have to close schools—without virtual education—until the strike ends,” he wrote in an email to parents, the Los Angeles Times reports. “We would simply have no way of ensuring a safe and secure environment where teaching can take place. We will give you as much advance notice as possible, but we encourage you to begin discussions with your employer, childcare providers and others now.”

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Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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