LAUSD School Workers Vote to Authorize a Strike


A Resounding 94% Say They’re Ready to Strike

Los Angeles, CA – Thousands of cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants and other dedicated school workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have voted to authorize their elected co-workers on the bargaining committee to call a strike. School workers cast votes at more than 700 LAUSD schools, special education centers, early education centers, bus yards, nutrition centers, other district worksites, and online from March 12 through April 13. Votes were counted on April 14 with a clear and decisive 94% voting in support of a strike. If there is no significant movement in negotiations with the District by April 30, SEIU Local 99’s bargaining team is prepared to begin the process to move toward a lawful strike.

“The dedicated school workers who transport students safely to school, feed them, support their classroom learning, and keep their classrooms and playgrounds clean have made our voices heard,” said Conrado Guerrero, SEIU Local 99 President and a Building Engineer with LAUSD. “We are tired of this school district dismissing and devaluing our work. We are an essential part of student learning and if it takes a strike for LAUSD to understand that, we’re ready to take action.”

Members of SEIU Local 99 have been in contract negotiations with LAUSD since March 2017. Despite over a year of bargaining, no significant movement has been made on key issues, including wages and staffing shortages. Union members have been strongly advocating for increased staffing of custodians. LAUSD is knowingly operating at substandard staffing levels for custodians, resulting in dirty schools and locked bathrooms. By LAUSD’s own admission, schools are staffed at 50% of the necessary levels.

Wages have also been a key bargaining issue. During the strike vote, LAUSD increased their offer to a 3% wage increase that includes a 1% increase that incorporates extra work and/or training starting in the 2018-19 school year.  It’s a minor increase to the district’s 2% offer which had been on the table for nearly a year. “It’s a step in the right direction but it’s not enough,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias. “A majority of school workers are also parents of LAUSD students. The District’s insistence on low wage, part time work has a direct impact on students as their parents struggle to pay rent and put food on the table.”

SEIU Local 99 has filed charges against LAUSD with the Public Employment Relations Board to protest threats and harassment of union members, including denying access to some strike voting sites. These unfair labor practice charges are in addition to charges previously filed for bad faith bargaining. The Public Employment Relations Board has already issued two complaints against LAUSD for interfering in workers’ rights to advocate for improved jobs and staffing.

“We’re committed to continuing to negotiate with the District to avert a strike, but we will begin preparations for a possible strike immediately.  We’re ready to strike if no other path forward can be found,” said Tanya Walters, SEIU Local 99 Vice President and an LAUSD Bus Driver. “This is about making sure every LAUSD student attends a healthy, clean and supportive school. It’s about ensuring that school workers who are devoted to student learning can provide for their own children.”


SEIU Local 99 is a union of 35,000 education workers in K-12 schools, early education centers and homes, administrative offices, and community colleges throughout Southern California, including 30,000 cafeteria workers, special education assistants, custodians, bus drivers and others providing essential student services at LAUSD schools. Nearly 50% of SEIU Local 99 members are also parents or guardians of school-aged children. 70% of SEIU 99 members are graduates of LAUSD schools and a great majority are members of the predominantly Black and Latino communities they serve.

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