L.A. schools close for over 500,000 students as workers strike, demand 30% raise
· Mar 21, 2023 · NottheBee.com

Classes were canceled in the Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) for more than 500,000 students on Tuesday due to a strike by service workers, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and special education assistants.

The 30,000 members of the service employees union called for a three-day strike, demanding a 30% pay raise and "better working conditions," according to ABC News. The union claims several of its members earn $25,000 per year.

"We're not getting an equitable wage to feed families, have housing," Fatima Grayson, one of the special education assistants on strike said. "A lot of people that do work for LAUSD have to work two jobs."

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said on Monday that the school district increased its offer to a 23% pay raise and a 3% "cash-in-hand bonus."

"Despite our invitation for a transparent, honest conversation that perhaps would result in a meaningful solution that would avoid a strike, we were never able to be in the same room or at the same table to address these issues," Carvalho said.

The strike is supported by the United Teachers Los Angeles Union (UTLA), which most recently went on strike in 2019.

"We stand in solidarity with them, recognizing that their struggles are our struggles ... that the only way we achieve our goals is by standing collectively together," UTLA president Cecily Myart-Cruz said.

L.A. Rep. Adam Schiff showed his support for the strike on Tuesday.

"I stand here with people of Los Angeles who believe that those that have these important responsibilities should not have to live in poverty," Schiff said. "The median income of our bus drivers and our cafeteria workers that are school age is $25,000 a year. Those are poverty wages. People with some of the most important responsibilities in our schools should not have to live in poverty."

L.A. Mayor Karen Bass said the city will make sure recreation centers and all public libraries remain open for students. The L.A. Zoo is also offering free admission to students during the strike.

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