LAUSD schools will close if unions go on a three-day strike

Los Angeles public schools would likely close in the event of a planned three-day simultaneous strike by unions representing 65,000 workers, including teachers and support staff, because the walkout would be too difficult to overcome and student safety could not be assured in the nation’s second-largest school district, Supt. Alberto Carvalho announced it on Monday evening.

“If this strike occurs, despite our best efforts to avoid it, due to the anticipated shortage of teachers and school staff, it is likely that we will have to close schools – without virtual education – until the end of the strike,” Carvalho said in an email to families. “We would simply have no way of ensuring a safe and secure environment where teaching could take place. We will give you as much notice as possible, but we encourage you to start discussions now with your employer, child care providers and others.

In a separate email to employees, he conveyed much the same message, adding that preparations for out-of-school support and learning would be made.

“We are doing everything we can to provide students with resources for learning, social-emotional well-being and food in the event of a strike.

Planned strike dates will be announced at a rally on Wednesday in Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. If that happens, the walkout will be led by Service Employees International Local 99, which represents approximately 30,000 workers, including bus drivers, guards, cafeteria and other food service workers, campus security, teaching assistants and aids for students with disabilities.

United Teachers Los Angeles, which is also in contract talks, has advised its members to stand down in solidarity with Local 99 to increase pressure on the district.

Local 99 described the strike as an unfair labor practices walkout in protest of LA Unified’s alleged illegal actions during the bargaining process. According to the unions, these strikes generally last for a fixed period and can be organized without going through all the stages of negotiation which generally precede a strike of indefinite duration.

LA Unified officials have denied any wrongdoing.

Local 99 leaders recently declared an impasse in negotiations and are moving forward with the mediation and investigation process. The union, which has yet to settle pay issues dating back to the 2020-21 school year, is demanding a 30% raise for all members, with an additional boost for the lowest-paid workers.

The 35,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles include teachers, counselors, therapists, nurses and librarians. The UTLA formally terminated its expired contract on Friday, giving its members wiggle room to join the Local 99 strike, according to the union.

The teachers’ union is calling for a 20% increase over two years, starting with 10% for the current school year. The union bargaining platform is broad and covers a range of workplace and social justice issues, including a commitment to provide additional resources for black students and affordable housing for low-income families.

The unions pointed to the district’s multi-billion dollar record reserves, recent inflation and the high cost of living in Southern California in support of their demands. The district countered that its bids are generous and much of the surplus is one-time funding that cannot be committed for ongoing expenses.

Until the announcement, it was unclear whether the district would try to keep campuses and classrooms running with a combination of supervisors, workers from other unions and striking union members ready to cross lines. of picketing.

Unions not involved in the strike would include those representing office workers, library assistants, school police and administrators.

A six-day strike in 2019 only involved the teachers’ union. Campuses remained open and safe for students, although little teaching took place and attendance was low.

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