UPDATE: April 10, 2023: Service Employees International Union Local 99 announced Saturday that an agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District had been approved by its members. The deal now awaits approval from the LAUSD Board of Education, which could happen as soon as an April 18 meeting.
Capping a three-day strike that closed schools in the nation's second-largest district, Los Angeles Unified School District and Service Employees International Union Local 99 on Friday announced a tentative agreement on a new contract for 30,000 employees. The union represents school cafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants, bus drivers and other support staff in the district, and teachers joined the strike in support.
The new contract, which must still be ratified, includes retroactive pay increases and covers a term of July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2024. The terms, according to LAUSD, include:
A 6% ongoing wage increase retroactive to July 1, 2021, a 7% ongoing wage increase retroactive to July 1, 2022, a 7% ongoing wage increase effective July 1, 2023, and a $2 per hour increase for all employees effective Jan. 1, 2024.
A $1,000 “appreciation bonus” in recognition of in-person work during the pandemic, for employees who were with the district in the 2020-21 school year.
A district minimum wage of $22.52 per hour, outpacing minimum wages in both the City of Los Angeles and California.
Health benefits for part-time employees who work four or more hours per day, with coverage for qualified dependents.
More hours and higher compensation for paraprofessionals working with students with disabilities.
A $3 million investment in an Education and Professional Development Fund for SEIU members.
The contract also includes terms on respectful treatment, a bus bidding process, mandatory overtime, and a Joint Labor Management Committee.
“When we started negotiating with SEIU, we promised to deliver on three goals,” said LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho in a statement. “We wanted to honor and elevate the dignity of our workforce and correct well-known, decades-long inequities impacting the lowest-wage earners. We wanted to continue supporting critical services for our students. We wanted to protect the financial viability of the District for the long haul. Promises made, promises delivered.”
In its own statement, SEIU Local 99 credited Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass as “instrumental to getting the District to finally start hearing our demands.”
The strike began Tuesday after last-minute negotiations faltered, and it led to canceled classes as SEIU members were joined in solidarity by United Teachers Los Angeles. Together, the two unions represent around 65,000 employees.