SEIU strike ends, tentative deal reached

Maggie Simonyan

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced on March 24 that it has officially come to a tentative agreement with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 on a signed contract that provides about 30,000 SEIU workers with salary increases and health and additional benefits.

“It’s a big step ahead,” said SEIU Local 99 member Humberto Renderos, who is a paraprofessional at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS). “It’s going to allow families to have more opportunities.”

In the new agreement, SEIU gained a wage increase of about 30% for its lowest-paid workers, health benefits for part-time employees who work at least four hours a day and a “$3 million investment in an SEIU Education and Professional Development Fund.” 

LAUSD schools shut down starting March 21, when SEIU began their three-day strike demanding “equitable wage increases, more full-time work, respectful treatment and increased staffing levels for improved student services,” according to a statement put out by the union. Schools reopened on Friday, March 24.

Aside from the changes regarding salary and employee compensation, LAUSD has also promised respectful treatment, a bus bidding process, new terms for mandatory overtime and a joint labor management committee for other issues.  

The deal reached by LAUSD and SEIU will now be voted on for ratification by union members. The process will take place in early April.

SEIU and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), which supported the labor union during the strike, are facing cases brought on by the district regarding the strike’s legality.

The cases are still ongoing as they have made their way to the next step in the labor board process, which includes a trial before an administrative law judge to take place within the next month or so. 

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said he is “appreciative of SEIU Local 99’s leadership for coming back to the table to negotiate an agreement” according to an LAUSD press release. Although the two groups were able to negotiate on new terms for SEIU workers, some tensions between the district and SEIU remain.

“It’s not over,” said SEIU member Martha Vargas, who is a school supervision aid at DPMHS. “It’s never over because we are still working to give more to the students and bringing more staff to support the students.”