More than 420,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District were out of school on Tuesday as teachers and staff at schools across the county went on strike.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second-largest school district in the nation.
On Monday night, negotiations between the parties failed to prevent the shutdown.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the union planned to continue the strike for at least three days.
Over 60,000 LAUSD workers are on strike today. Despite the rain, they gathered at their local schools to protest for better wages. Ronnette Brown-Curls, 52, a teacher at 95th Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles, blasts “Fight the Power” for the strikers. @USATODAY pic.twitter.com/lwqIEzMKCc
— Sandy Hooper (@SandyHooper) March 21, 2023
“The strike will begin at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 21, and continue through Thursday, March 23,” Local 99 of Service Employees International Union, which is leading the strike, said in a statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
According to their report, the union demands a 30 percent wage increase plus a $2 per hour additional raise for the lowest-paid workers to stop the strike. Teachers also ask for a 20 percent raise over the next two years.
The United Teachers Los Angeles union is not directly involved in the strike but has said its members will not cross the picket lines.
ON TUESDAY, #SEIU workers begin their three-day #strike picketing at John F Kennedy School in Los Angeles. The workers, which include bus drivers, food workers, and janitors, are on a three-day strike for higher wages. The teachers union is also backing the strike. pic.twitter.com/FIa3QEPg3U
— David Crane (@vidcrane) March 21, 2023
Congressman Adam Schiff was present to help launch the walkout.
BREAKING: thousands of LAUSD workers are on strike and teachers will not cross the picket line, shutting down schools across LA. Congressman Adam Schiff is here at the press conference launching the walk out. @SpecNews1SoCal pic.twitter.com/fyfnTKORUP
— Kate Cagle (@KateCagle) March 21, 2023
Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in a statement on Tuesday that the district remains “ready to return to negotiations with SEIU Local 99 so we can provide an equitable contract to our hardworking employees and get our students back in classrooms.”
“I understand our employees’ frustration that has been brewing, not just for a couple of years, but probably for decades,” the statement continued. “And it is on the basis of recognizing historic inequities that we have put on the table a historic proposal. This offer addresses the needs and concerns from the union, while also remaining fiscally responsible and keeping the District in a financially stable position.”
Carvalho said that volunteers are on hand to make sure students are fed and offer other assistance to the families that are being impacted.
“Even in the most difficult of circumstances our teams are ready and willing to support our students. Thanks to our incredible employees and volunteers who are on the frontlines providing nourishing meals and other critical services to families,” Carvalho said. “Rain will not deter our teams from providing students with meals. When more than 75% of the kids in our community live at or below the poverty levels, meals are a critical service schools provide.”
The superintendent concluded by saying, “closures are detrimental not only for academics but also for health and social-emotional support.”