LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Unified School District reached a tentative agreement May 8 with the union representing its service workers on a three-year contract, averting a planned one-day strike next week.
The contract guarantees raises for the first year, provides economic wage supplements for the second year, which can turn into permanent raises, depending on the financial health of the district, and provides an economic re-opener for the third year, according to the district’s Shannon Haber.
“Thank you to the SEIU Local 99 and our district’s labor team for coming to a tentative agreement this evening,” interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said. “We worked diligently with SEIU Local 99 leadership to arrive at a long-term solution that meets the needs of our students and employees.”
Said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias: “Our members are proud of the work they do every day on the front lines of educating our students. We feel this is a great step from L.A. Unified in recognizing our contributions to the district. We look forward to improving educational outcomes, as well as the wages and working conditions of classified employees.”
“I am grateful to all of the people involved and especially the bargaining teams,” school board President Mónica García said. “They continued to work endless hours to find a solution that will allow our schools to continue operating smoothly, while advancing the respect and dignity of those who work so hard to serve our students well.”
“Our classified employees are the heartbeat of this district, and I’m grateful for their daily service,” school board Vice President Nick Melvoin said. “Every day, they drive our kids, open our schools, feed our students and provide invaluable services to our communities. Only by making responsible financial decisions will this district be able to continue to support our employees — and, of course, our students.”
“Our employees — all of our employees — make a significant difference to our schools,” school board member George McKenna. “I salute all involved for navigating tough negotiations and coming to terms that will enable them to continue serving our students well.”
The union had called a one-day strike May 15 to protest what it called unfair labor practices. United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing the district’s teachers, announced it would join the strike.
SEIU Local 99 represents about 30,000 people, including custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teachers’ assistants, truck drivers and other support workers.
Prior to the announced labor agreement, Local 99 spokeswoman Blanca Gallegos said the union had filed charges with the state Public Employment Relations Board to protest the district’s decision to cut the hours of special education assistants, even as the district and union were negotiating over staffing and work hours.
“Enough is enough,” said Tanya Walters, a district bus driver and vice president of SEIU Local 99. “We’re trying to work with the district to address issues that impact our students. But instead of listening to those of us who work with students on the front lines every day, they have bullied and harassed workers who speak up.
The agreement needs to be approved by both the Board of Education and union to go into effect.