LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) - Los Angeles Unified District School District workers approved a union deal after a three day strike over wages and personnel that halted the education of students in one nation's largest schools systems.
Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union announced Saturday that the agreement was approved this week and would result in a 30% increase in wages for workers earning an average of $25,000. The agreement also includes a 1,000-dollar bonus for employees who were employed during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and expanded benefits for family health insurance.
The Board of Education of the school district must still approve the contract. The district has said that the Board of Education could vote on it at its meeting on April 18th.
After contract negotiations stalled, thousands of teachers and workers supported by the union went on strike in Los Angeles last month. They rallied outside district headquarters. Bus drivers, cafeteria staff, teachers' assistants, and other unionized employees were demanding better wages and more staff.
Karen Bass, the Los Angeles mayor, thanked both the school district and the union for reaching an agreement late in March after the strike.
'We need to continue to work together to reduce the high cost of living in our city, increase opportunity, and support more funding for LA public schools. They are the strongest determinant of the future of our city,' said the Democrat.
SEIU says many district support staffers are living in poverty due to low wages or limited working hours, while also struggling with the inflation and high housing costs in Los Angeles County.
The district has more than a half-million students, which is only second to New York City Public Schools.
Max Arias is the executive director of the union. He hailed the agreement as a'major step' in improving pay, benefits and hours for workers that 'have long been left behind'.
Arias stated in a press release that 'this contract acknowledges the essential efforts of those who strive to provide a safe, clean and supportive learning environment for students'.