Today, we rallied in front of LAUSD Headquarters, ahead of a regularly-scheduled School Board meeting, to speak out on the struggles school workers face during the summer. And we made sure the board heard us!
We are urging the members of the School Board to support an equitable and community-focused budget that ensures fair wages for LAUSD’s dedicated school workers—many of them parents of LAUSD students—who struggle to pay for rent, food, and other basic necessities during what we’ve come to know as the “cruel summer.”
While LAUSD has taken great steps to raise the minimum wage, the part time and seasonal nature of our work means school workers still struggle to make ends meet. The situation becomes worse during the summer because under current state regulations, classified school employees are ineligible to receive state unemployment insurance benefits.
Our Summer Bridge Fund Bill (AB 621) currently in the state legislature would help lessen the economic insecurity we face by setting up a fund we can voluntarily contribute to, which would me matched 2-to-1. Together with fairer wages, the Summer Bridge Bill would help create a pathway out of the “cruel summer.”
“I love seeing children aspire to their fullest potential. I would not change my career for any other job, but the summers are very difficult,” said Special Education Assistant Kathleen Hamm, who spoke in front of School Board members with a room full of her Local 99 brothers and sisters behind her. “People ask me how I make it. Well, I respond, ‘Do you know what dumpster diving is?’ When most people are sleeping, I’m out collecting glass bottles, cans, and whatever else is recyclable.”
“Low wages and reduced work hours are not just labor issues. Economic insecurity has a profound impact on the well-being of our families and communities—and the academic achievement of our children,” said Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99. “We call on the School Board to adopt an equitable budget that truly considers the needs of our communities. This includes a budget that will allow dedicated school workers to raise their families with dignity and stability.”
As we move forward with contract negotiations, it is public actions like this, our stories and our voices that will push the board to do the right thing. Let’s stay strong and united.