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LAUSD Strike Commences

Los Angeles Unified School District’s lowest-paid employees, including cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, and special education assistants, began a three-day strike on Tuesday to demand better wages and working conditions. 


United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses,  joined the school employees in solidarity after last-minute talks failed to prevent the strike. 


The president of UTLA, Cecily Myart-Cruz, said on Tuesday that “We will stand united — 65,000 members strong — until LAUSD and Supt. Alberto Carvalho give respect to the education workers that keep our schools running and our children safe.”


The strike has shuttered the nation’s second-largest public school system and has disrupted the routines of 420,000 students and their families. 


Hundreds of school employees began their strike at 5 am on Tuesday, joining the picket line at the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Van Nuys bus yard despite the heavy rain


The president of the striking Local 99 of Service Employees International Union, Conrado Guerrero, stated in a news conference on Tuesday that “as a building engineer, I was called an essential worker by LAUSD during the pandemic ... but it seems LAUSD has forgotten that.” 


Executive director of Local 99, Max Arias, called the strike the “workers’ last resort” after failing to negotiate for a 30% salary increase, plus $2 more per hour for the lowest-paid employees. 


The striking employees were joined by Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank. The congressman called the median income of $25,000 for school employees “poverty wages.” 


“People with some of the most important responsibilities in our schools should not have to live in poverty,” Schiff said. “They deserve to work in dignity and live in dignity.”


Arias has said a primary goal of Local 99 has been to raise the average annual wage of members to $36,000.


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