LOS ANGELES (KNX) – L.A. Unified schools will be closed on Tuesday, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced Monday afternoon.
Monday, the union representing the LAUSD workers released a statement saying it expected to proceed with a three-day strike. The decision came after union officials said school district leaders broke the confidentiality of a planned meeting.
"This afternoon, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 99 had agreed to enter a confidential mediation process with LAUSD to try and address our differences," union Executive Director Max Arias said.
"Unfortunately, LAUSD broke that confidentiality by sharing it with the media before our bargaining team, which makes all decisions, had a chance to discuss how to proceed. This is yet another example of the school district's continued disrespect of school workers. We are ready to strike. We want to be clear that we are not in negotiations with LAUSD. We continue to be engaged in the impasse process with the state."
Earlier on Monday, L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he was optimistic that an agreement can be reached to dodge a strike.
Carvalho told FOX 11 he spoke with Service Employees International Union Local 99 leaders over the weekend and wants to continue negotiating.
The union is demanding a 30 percent pay raise. United Teacher of Los Angeles is planning to strike alongside SEIU 99 if a deal isn’t reached.
“What we're hoping for, quite frankly is number one, a settlement and there's still time for a settlement that provides the continuity of education, food distribution protection for kids in school,” he said. “A contract that honors and dignifies the good work of our staff members, but also a contract that does not put the district in a financially ruinous position. “
On Friday, however, LAUSD filed a legal challenge with the state Public Employment Relations Board seeking an injunction and claiming that the strike was illegal. That challenge was denied by the board.
SEIU 99, which represents 30,000 service workers, are set to begin striking 4:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Van Nuys Bus Yard. A 1 p.m. rally is also scheduled that day at LAUSD headquarters.
"Despite LAUSD's misleading statements in the media and threats against workers who are exercising their right to take action, our movement is only growing stronger," SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said. "Teachers, students and parents in the district are standing with school workers and their right to take action -- free from fear -- to bargain for better wages and increased staffing in our schools."
In a message to KNX news, LAUSD School Board President Jackie Goldberg the board has given the superintendent the go-ahead to put as much money on the bargaining table as possible to try and hammer out a new contract and avert a strike.
If a resolution can’t be reached, all LAUSD schools will shut down for 3 days.
L.A. Mayor Karen Bass said she’s monitoring the strike and has allotted resources if a strike occurs.
”We are ready to provide safe places and meals so students are cared for and parents can keep working,” she said.
One parent told KNX News she was disappointed initially, but reconsidered after learning how much some school employees were making.
“So initially I was like really annoyed and not supportive, but now that I've learned more information, I'm 100% supportive, supportive of a strike,” she said.
“We as parent(s), we need to support the teachers, always,” another parent said.
The district created a website with resources to help families during the strike. You can view it here.
City News Service contributed to this article.
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