LOS ANGELES (KNX) – The Service Employees International Union Local 99 union held a rally in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday as they announce they will begin a three-day strike on March 21.
The union, which represents nearly 30,000 bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants and other workers, were joined by members of United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents almost 35,000 teachers, nurses and counselors.
"Workers are fed-up with living on poverty wages -- and having their jobs threatened for demanding equitable pay. Workers are fed-up with the short staffing at LAUSD -- and being harassed for speaking up," Max Arais, SEIU Local 99 executive director, said.
"We demand that LAUSD stop the unlawful activity, or workers are ready to take stronger action to protest these unfair practices. Canceling our contract is not a decision we make lightly. But it's clear that LAUSD does not respect or value the work of essential workers in our schools."
Both unions are trying to negotiate new labor pacts with the district. SEIU workers voted in February to authorize a strike if negotiations failed.
“LAUSD has continued to harass and threaten SEIU Local 99 members engaging in union activities for a fair contract,” the union wrote on its website.
“In response, our SEIU Local 99 bargaining team has called for a 3-day unfair practice charges strike.”
LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, however, claimed the union is refusing to negotiate.
“With a historic offer on the table that was created in direct responded to SEIU’s demands, and with additional resources still to be negotiated, it is deeply surprising and disappointing that there is an unwillingness to do so,” he said.
During a press conference Wednesday, Carvalho urged the union to “come back and discuss until we find a solution”, adding that a strike would be devastating.
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