LAUSD, SEIU leaders reach 'historic' breakthrough deal following 3-day strike

ByAmy Powell, Michelle Fisher, and staff KABC logo
Saturday, March 25, 2023
LAUSD, SEIU reach 'historic' breakthrough deal following 3-day strike
The union representing 30,000 LAUSD service workers who just concluded a three-day strike has reached a tentative labor contract with the district.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The union representing 30,000 Los Angeles Unified School District service workers who just concluded a three-day strike has reached a tentative labor contract with the district, officials announced Friday.

The tentative deal still needs the approval of Service Employees International Union Local 99 members and the LAUSD board. The deal includes pay raises along with bonus payments, retroactive pay and health benefits.

According to the district, under the terms of the new contracts, which span from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2024, LAUSD and SEIU agreed to the following:

Salary increases of:

  • 6% ongoing wage increase retroactive to July 1, 2021
  • 7% ongoing wage increase retroactive to July 1, 2022
  • 7% ongoing wage increase effective July 1, 2023
  • $2 per hour increase for all employees effective January 1, 2024
  • Provide a $1,000 appreciation bonus for current employees who were with the district in the 2020-21 school year

The deal also bumps the minimum wage for LAUSD workers to $22.52 an hour. Health benefits will also be secured for part-time employees assigned to work four or more hours a day, including coverage for their qualified dependents.

It'll also increase hours and pay for paraprofessionals serving students with special needs and vows to invest $3 million in an Education and Professional Development Fund for SEIU members.

"I am appreciative of SEIU Local 99's leadership for coming back to the table to negotiate an agreement that addresses the needs of our employees and brings students back to the classroom," Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. "We also thank Mayor Bass for her support and leadership in facilitating negotiations. When we started negotiating with SEIU, we promised to deliver on three goals. 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."

The deal announcement comes after classes went back in session following the strike that saw more than 30,000 bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other employees walk off the job from Tuesday to Thursday, and a separate union representing teachers also walk off in solidarity.

The union representing 30,000 LAUSD service workers who just concluded a three-day strike has reached a tentative labor contract with the district.

Mayor Karen Bass facilitated discussions between the sides, the office said.

The SEIU, which represents roughly 30,000 LAUSD service workers, walked off the job Tuesday amid stalled labor talks focused primarily on the union's demand for a 30% salary boost, as well as an additional $2 an hour over the next four years and increased work hours for part time workers.

The service workers -- including cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants and others -- were joined in their walkout by about 30,000 members of the United Teachers Los Angeles union, which is engaged in labor talks of its own with the district, seeking a 20% pay hike for its members.

Thousands of service workers backed by teachers continued to strike against the Los Angeles Unified School District on Thursday, the final day of a planned three-day walkout.

All those workers stayed off the job through Thursday -- when the SEIU strike climaxed with tens of thousands of union members and supporters descending on Los Angeles State Historic Park in a boisterous display of solidarity.

Parents of the students in the district said they were in support of the strike and the actions being taken by the SEIU.

"Well, I'm a parent. I'm a union, film industry worker," said John Kirk, a parent. "I support the unions. I support the workers. I think they ought to make a wage that is more reasonable to live in Los Angeles or in the surrounding areas."

Christal Lord, a teacher in the district, said a lot of parents supported the teachers standing in solidarity with the SEIU.

"I think just being in solidarity with the SEIU workers was really important," said Lord. "A lot of our parents supported it. They didn't complain to me or anything, they really wanted our workers here to have a living wage because they know that custodians, cafeteria workers support their children. So, they understood our cause."