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Los Angeles school district workers approve post-strike labor deal


LOS ANGELES — Workers at the Los Angeles Unified School District have approved a labor agreement following a three-day pay and staff strike that has halted student education in one of the world’s largest systems. schools in the country.

The deal, which was voted on this week, would raise wages by 30% for workers who are paid an average of $25,000 a year, Service Employees International Union Local 99 said Saturday. It also includes a $1,000 bonus for employees who worked during the Covid-19 pandemic and expanded family health benefits.

The contract still needs to be approved by the school district’s school board. The school district said the board could put it to a vote at an April 18 meeting.

Thousands of teacher-backed workers went on strike last month and rallied outside school district headquarters in downtown Los Angeles amid stalled contract talks. The goal was to demand better pay and increased staffing for bus drivers, cafeteria workers, teacher’s aides and other employees represented by the union.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass thanked the school district and the union for reaching an agreement in late March after the strike.

“We must continue to work together to address our city’s high cost of living, to expand opportunity, and to support more funding for Los Angeles public schools, which are the most powerful determinant of the future of our city,” the Democrat said in a statement.

The SEIU said many district support staff live in poverty due to low pay or limited work hours while battling inflation and the high cost of housing in Los County. Angeles.

The school district serves more than half a million area students, an enrollment number second only to the New York City public school system.

Max Arias, the union’s executive director, touted the deal as “a major step” to improving wages, hours and benefits for workers who “have been left behind for far too long”.

“This contract recognizes the essential work of those who work hard to ensure students can learn in a clean, safe and supportive environment,” Arias said in a statement.

At the time of the strike, Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho had accused the union of refusing to negotiate.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.