After last-minute negotiations faltered Monday, Los Angeles Unified School District canceled classes Tuesday as members of Service Employees International Union Local 99 began a three-day strike. The members of SEIU Local 99 — which includes school cafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants, bus drivers and other support staff — were joined by members of United Teachers Los Angeles.
Together, the unions represent around 65,000 employees of the nation’s second-largest school district.
SEIU Local 99 members voted to authorize the strike in February, with 96% of members voting in favor, according to the union. The employees are calling for “equitable wage increases, more full-time work, increased staffing and respectful treatment on the job.”
In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho called for the union to sit down with district leaders for negotiations to avoid a strike, saying, “We can find a solution that dignifies our workforce and avoids an unnecessary shutdown of schools while protecting the long term viability of the school system.”
— Alberto M. Carvalho (@LAUSDSup) March 20, 2023
Though the district tried to negotiate down to the wire Monday, Max Arias, executive director of SEIU Local 99, said in a statement that LAUSD broke a confidentiality agreement with the union by sharing with the media that bargaining was ongoing.
The California Public Employment Relations Board also rejected a last-minute request from LAUSD for an injunction that would have prevented the strike.