For Release: August 23, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CA – The LAUSD School Board voted unanimously today to approve an agreement with SEIU Local 99 that will extend District health care benefits to thousands of Teacher Assistants, After School Program Workers, Community Representatives, School Supervision Aides and other dedicated school workers who were previously shut-out of LAUSD’s health plan.
“We are proud to have worked with LAUSD to bring greater equity and justice to Teacher Assistants who help teach our children to read and to After School Workers and others who provide safety and enrichment to students during hours when children are most vulnerable to crime and violence,” said Max Arias, SEIU Local 99 Executive Director. “These workers are mothers and fathers of District students, educators committed to our children’s success, LAUSD graduates, future teachers, and members of our Latino and African American communities who have historically suffered from unequal access to quality health care. By finally including these workers in benefits enjoyed by all other District employees, LAUSD recognizes their important contributions to student learning and the impact of good jobs on our local communities.”
LAUSD School Board President Steve Zimmer said, “The classified workers of SEIU Local 99 are some of our most dedicated and selfless workers who directly interact with students on a day to day basis. I am proud to support today’s action which ensures that our workers, and their families, will have access to expanded healthcare options. We need to make sure that the women and men who take care of LAUSD’s children by day can care for their own families by night.”
“SEIU Local 99 members, many of which are proud LAUSD parents, have been committed partners to the movement towards 100% graduation in Los Angeles,” said LAUSD School Board Member Mónica García. “I am proud to stand with every employee – from our bus drivers to our cafeteria workers, from our maintenance professionals to classroom support staff. You help make Los Angeles great and we look forward to our continued partnership.”
“We are pleased that the District has taken steps to offer our Teacher Assistants and Playground Aides health insurance,” said School Board Member George McKenna. “Providing health and welfare benefits to our employees is the right thing to do and will further strengthen the relationship with vital members of our school families.
“We are pleased to be able to extend health and welfare benefits to support more of the hard-working employees of SEIU Local 99,” said LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King.
Highlights of the agreement include:
Teacher Assistants who work 800 hours or more in a year in any one assignment in the previous school year, will receive individual health care benefits fully paid by the District, including vision and dental benefits. This is a significant victory because, previously, the cost of health care for Teacher Assistants was so outrageously high that most were locked-out of coverage.
After School Program Workers, Community Representatives and School Supervision Aides will finally be included in the District’s health care plan. Previously, they were completely denied District health coverage. Under the new agreement, LAUSD will pay half of the cost of benefits for workers in this unit who work 1000 hours or more in a year in any one assignment in the previous school year. It’s a big step forward for a group of dedicated school workers who have been unfairly excluded from benefits.
The agreement, which is expected to cover approximately 4000 workers, will go into effect in the 2017-18 school year.
SEIU Local 99 members would like to dedicate this victory to the memory of Maggie Estell, a Teacher Assistant at LAUSD who served on the Bargaining Team that negotiated the health care agreement. Maggie passed away on August 3, 2016. During her 35 years as a Teacher Assistant at LAUSD she never had access to the District’s health benefits. On April 12, 2016, she spoke before the School Board saying, “I’m here today because I don’t want the young T.A.s I work with 35 years from now crying these same tears I’m crying … I ask that you ensure affordable health care for all eligible workers in the District.”
SEIU Local 99 represents employees throughout Southern California in public and non-public
organizations in early education, child care, K-12, and community college levels, including nearly 30,000
Teacher’s Assistants, Playground Workers, Special Education Assistants, Bus Drivers, Gardeners,
Custodians, Cafeteria Workers, and Maintenance Workers at LAUSD. Nearly 50% of SEIU Local 99
members are also parents or guardians of school-aged children.