Union representing workers, including custodians, cafeteria workers, teacher assistants and other support staff have voted to walk off the job this week
By Sam Catanzaro
Thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) families are preparing for a potential three-day strike starting Tuesday. The union representing workers, including custodians, cafeteria workers, teacher assistants and other support staff have voted to walk off the job this week. LAUSD teachers have expressed they will also be taking part in the strike, resulting in campuses being closed from Tuesday through Thursday.
LAUSD issued a statement Sunday night saying it is prepared for school closures but remains optimistic a resolution can be reached before the Tuesday deadline.
Leading up to this decision, numerous protests and rallies have taken place in front of the headquarters on Saturday. Attendees included members from UTLA—the teacher’s union—standing in solidarity with SEIU Local 99, who are advocating for better working conditions and wages for all school workers. The average salary of an LAUSD school worker is currently $25,000 a year.
SEIU is seeking an increase of at least 30 percent in wages; addressing staffing shortages; increasing hours and health care benefits for part-time employees as well as improving sanitation and maintenance on campuses.
The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has rejected LAUSD’s request to file an injunction against SEIU Local 99’s strike as unlawful. Nevertheless, PERB considers they still have a right to protest while continuing to move forward with their plans. Together both unions represent more than 60,000 LAUSD personnel.
Over the weekend, LA Mayor Karen Bass announced that she has authorized resources to be provided to support LAUSD families in the event schools are closed this week.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will offer 21 Recreation Centers to serve as Grab & Go locations as part of the LAUSD food distribution program Tuesday, March 21 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. For more information visit achieve.lausd.net/schoolupdates.
The Department is also prepared to offer a Special Edition After School Club Program at 30 recreation centers in the event of LAUSD school closures this week. The program will be free and available to elementary school students in 1st to 5th grades 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. from March 21- March 23. Registration will be available online on Monday, March 20th at 1 PM. Slots are first registered, first served. Due to limited space, students must be checked in by 8:15 a.m. or will lose their registration space for the day.
The program will include assistance with school assignments, recreation activities, lunch, and snacks. If school closures do not take place, the Special Edition After School Program will be discontinued.
Designated Recreation Centers (RC) to serve elementary school students are as follows:
The Los Angeles Zoo will offer free admission to Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students in grades K-12 as well as a “Community Safari Day” program for grades K-5, providing a safe and educational space for students in the event of a three-day LAUSD school closure from March 21- 23, 2023.
Free admission will be offered to all currently enrolled LAUSD students grades K-12, along with a $5 fee for accompanying chaperones. Students need to show proof of enrollment by presenting their school identification card, report card, school newsletter, or similar proof of enrollment. Complimentary admission will be offered only on days LAUSD schools are impacted by pending closures. Tickets must be purchased in person at the L.A. Zoo box office. This is a limited time discount and is not available online.
In the event of school closures, libraries will be open normal business hours. In addition to the regularly scheduled events for kids and teens, which range from science workshops to craft programs to chess clubs, all libraries will be prepared to engage kids, teens and families with fun and educational hands-on activities such as science bingo, building-brick challenges or word games, crafts and more.