School will be back in session on Friday for 420,000 Los Angeles students after a three-day strike by education workers disrupted classes and social services in the second-largest school district in the United States.
The Los Angeles Unified School District and the Service Employees International Union Local 99 failed to reach an agreement during the work stoppage, which ended on Thursday with another day of picketing and rallies by striking bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and other low-wage earners.
“All @LASchools will reopen this Friday, March 24. … We look forward to seeing our students and employees back in classrooms,” the school district said on Twitter on Thursday.
Some 30,000 workers, backed by 35,000 unionized teachers who honored their picket line, walked off the job on Tuesday seeking an increase to what they call poverty wages averaging $25,000 per year.
The work stoppage was the latest in a series of job actions by educators across the United States who have complained of burnout and low wages, leading to a teacher shortage in many parts of the country.
“We’re three days in and I’m willing to do some more (strike) days if we have to,” said Tiffany Barba, a special education assistant and one of thousands who attended a closing rally on Thursday at Los Angeles State Historic Park.
Many workers anticipated an agreement might be announced at the rally but no such news was released.
“It’s a long process. We don’t want to sign something that we might regret later,” said Orasio Morales, a driver and union shop steward.
The union was demanding a 30% salary increase plus an additional $2 per hour for the lowest-paid workers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
L.A. schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who acknowledged workers have been underpaid for years, told reporters on Monday the district had offered a 23% raise plus a 3% bonus.