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Los Angeles schools, union leaders reach contract deal

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Unified School District and union leaders said Friday they reached a deal on a new contract for workers after a strike that shut down the nation’s second-largest school system for three days.

The agreement includes a pay raise for workers such as bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, special education assistants and other support staff. Leaders from Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union say that will raise the average pay for those workers significantly.

The deal must still be voted on by the full union.

The roughly 30,000 workers represented by the union walked off the job from Tuesday to Thursday amid stalled contract talks. Classes resumed Friday.

District superintendent Alberto Carvalho, SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced the deal together.

Members of United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing 35,000 educators, counselors and other staff, joined the picket lines in solidarity.

The union said district support staffers earn, on average, about $25,000 per year and many live in poverty because of low pay or limited work hours while struggling with inflation and the high cost of housing in Los Angeles County.

The strike had wide support among union members.

SEIU members have been working without a contract since June 2020, while the contract for teachers expired in June 2022. The unions decided last week to stop accepting extensions to their contracts.

Teachers waged a six-day strike in 2019 over pay and contract issues but schools remained open.

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