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HomeEducationLos Angeles Unified, service workers union reach tentative contract deal after three-day...

Los Angeles Unified, service workers union reach tentative contract deal after three-day strike

Credit: KATE SEQUEIRA / EDSOURCE

Thousands of SEIU Local 99 and UTLA members and allies gathered at Los Angeles Historic Park in Chinatown Thursday at the final rally of the three-day strike.

Bus drivers, special education assistants, custodians and other essential workers could receive a significant pay bump after Los Angeles Unified and Service Employees International Union Local 99 reached a tentative agreement on a new contract following a three-day strike.

With help from Mayor Karen Bass, who stepped into negotiations Wednesday amid a three-day work stoppage, workers could receive a 30% raise and a $1,000 bonus as well as retroactive pay ranging from $4,000 to $8,000, depending on job classification. Those working four or more hours per day would also be able to secure healthcare benefits for both themselves and their dependents. 

“The agreement addresses our key demands and sets us on a clear pathway to improving our livelihoods and securing the staffing we need to improve student services,” SEIU Local 99 shared in a press release Friday. “It was members’ dedication to winning respect from the district that made this agreement possible.”

The wage increase is spread out over the course of four years, including two years of retroactive pay dating back to 2021 and 2022 of 6% and 7%, respectively. Workers would receive another bump in July of 7%, followed by a $2 per hour raise in January. The district’s minimum wage would change to $22.52 an hour. Special education assistants would also be guaranteed seven hours of work a day.

“When we started negotiating with SEIU, we promised to deliver on three goals,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a press release. “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 development comes after Local 99 members walked out Tuesday through Thursday amid heavy rain, as they protested the district’s alleged harassment and intimidation of members during the negotiation process. The strike caused schools to shut down, leaving families scrambling to find childcare as students missed three days of instruction. Students returned to school Friday for a final day of instruction this week.

Workers were joined by teachers, librarians and counselors under the United Teachers Los Angeles union, who walked out with them in solidarity. 

The union has been negotiating its new contract for nearly a year following the expiration of its last one in 2020. The union initially requested a 30% raise plus an additional $2 per hour for lower-paid workers. The district’s last public offer was for a 23% raise and a one-time 3% bonus for workers hired before the 2020-21 school year.

Local 99 members will vote on the new agreement Monday.

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