California teachers announce three day strike on Tuesday and demand 30 percent pay rise
More than half a million kids are set to miss school next week because of a planned-three day strike from employees of the nation’s second-largest school system, who are demanding higher wages due to rising inflation and housing costs.
The development comes as the latest round of negotiations between the Los Angeles Unified School District schools and a union representing 30,000 of its cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and other school staffers seemingly fell flat on Friday.
Called in hopes of averting a strike that would close more than 1,000 schools, the negotiations hit a standstill – even after assertions from Superintendent Alberto Carvalho that the district was prepared to improve its offer of three consecutive raises in the same amount of years to avoid any closures.
The offer apparently was not enough to sway members of Service Employees International Union Local 99 (S.E.I.U. Local 99), which is seeking a 30 percent raise for the school staffers. Set to join Local 99 in the walkout is United Teachers LA, which represents another 30,000 district staffers.
Parents are now desperate for a solution, begging officials to think of the more than 565,000 students who will miss class due to the closures. Also unhappy about the interruptions are several of these children, many of whom already saw their education interrupted over the course of the pandemic.
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More than half a million kids are set to miss school next week because of a planned-three day strike from employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District, who are demanding higher wages due to rising inflation and housing costs
Student such as fourth grader Talia Ball said they are unhappy about the interruptions, after seeing their education interrupted several times over the course of the pandemic
‘I’m sad,’ fourth grader Talia Ball told FOX 11 Los Angeles of how she was feeling about the looming strike – and the stark possibility that she will be forced to miss class come Tuesday.
When asked what she would miss the most while at home next week, the at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary student answered with a hopeful smile: ‘Math.’
Her sister Tiana, a first-grader at the LA elementary school, similarly answered, ‘my friends,’ after being questioned about the now seemingly inevitable closures.
The sisters spoke to the Fox affiliate on the steps of their school, where their fellow students could be seen playing in a nearby playground.
That said, come next week, that playground and hundreds of others could be eerily empty – as streets nearby are still littered with hundreds of homeless encampments that, for the most part, sprouted up during the pandemic.
The current state of the city – along with other Golden State strongholds such as San Francisco and San Diego – has for years tested citizens’ patience, and the looming closures, when coupled with a years-long rise in crime, comes as no help.
While citizens are fed up, public school workers in the embattled state – which is currently mulling over a proposal that would see roughly 1.8million black Californians gifted $360,000 in ‘reparations’ – are equally tired with the local government, leading to the planned walkouts that were announced last week.
The development comes as the latest round of negotiations between the district and a union representing 30,000 of its cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and other school staffers fell flat Friday. District workers and other supporters are seen protesting Wednesday
Talias’ younger sister, Tiana, a first-grader at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary, similarly answered, ‘my friends,’ after being questioned about the now inevitable closures
Seen here with father Hassan, the sisters serves as just two of the roughly 565,000 students set to miss class come Tuesday over workers demands for improved compensation
‘Workers are fed-up with living on poverty wages and having their jobs threatened for demanding equitable pay,’ SEIU Local 99 executive director Max Arais said in a statement last week criticizing district for not bowing to their demands of an immediate wage increase.
‘Workers are fed-up with the short staffing at LAUSD – and being harassed for speaking up.’
Arais would then set a date for the three-day procession – which comes on the heels of other protests seen in recent months by his union and the aforementioned teacher’s organization.
That union, which represents the district’s teachers and other instructors, is demanding a slightly less pronounced wage hike of 20 percent.
The district’s failed appeasement package reportedly offered a 5 percent wage increase retroactive to July 2021, as well as an additional 5 percent raise retroactive to July 2022 to account for rising rent costs in the City of Angels, which is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis.
Carvalho reportedly also offered a further 5 percent increase that would go into effect this July, along with a 4 percent bonus for the 2022-23 school year and a 5 percent bonus for 2023-24.
The union announced Wednesday at a rally at Grand Park the strike would begin Tuesday, as workers are fed up with the local government and District head Alberto Carvahlo due to be force to live ‘on poverty wages and having their jobs threatened for demanding equitable pay’
Set to join Local 99 in the walkout is United Teachers LA, which represents another 30,000 district staffers
The offering was seemingly not enough to put the talks to bed, with the district yet to announce that a solution has been reached.
On Wednesday, Superintendent Carvahlo decried the possibility of a strike, especially after the prolonged campus closures that interrupted students’ learning during the pandemic.
‘What are the consequences?’ Carvalho said of the possible reprocussions of yet another week of closures. ‘The consequences are once again learning loss, deprivation of safety and security that schools provide to our kids, deprivation of food and nutrition that many of our kids depend on.’
He added: ‘I know that we focus our attention on the needs of the workforce. I need to focus my attention also primarily on the needs of our kids.’
Parents are now expressing similar concerns as only one school day remains before the prospective walkouts, with a solution still yet to be reached and school workers still set to picket.
Local mother Yesenia Benites complained the closures will not only affect her young daughter, but her as well, as she divides her time between parenting and taking online classes at an undergrad university.
‘Since I do go to college and take online classes, having to have a daughter that’s here… it’s gonna take my study time to do homework and all that.’
That said, the mom said she was most concerned about her daughter.
‘She’s going to miss being with her friends and learning,’ she lamented.
Meanwhile, workers look set to strike. According to Union officials, district staffers currently earn an average salary of just $25,000. Los Angeles currently boasts one of the highest average rents in the country, at roughly $2,600.
Source of data and images: dailymail