After lengthy negotiations between the school union and the county reached an impasse, resulting in a teachers’ strike and the closure of Los Angeles schools for three days, Mayor Karen Bass stepped in. As a result, the parties concluded, as they themselves say today, a historic agreement, having satisfied all the demands of the strikers. Chief among them was a 30% increase in the salaries of school staff, including teaching assistants, bus drivers, librarians and canteen workers. Before the strike, they received about $25,000 a year.
“Prices have gone up on everything – food, gasoline. Someone is forced to sleep in cars, because there is nothing to pay for rent. It’s hard to live like this,” says Helen, an elementary school assistant teacher, says that her colleagues are constantly forced to look for extra income, even a new job, because it is impossible to support a family on a salary of 2 thousand dollars a month in Los Angeles.
District leaders have been saying for several months that there is no money in the budget for such an increase. The union opposed and protested. But after three days on strike, the money was found and the differences disappeared.
“For half a million Los Angeles school students and their families, I have news: we have a contract. So the schools will continue to operate and the children, including my grandson, will continue to study,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said after the talks.
After the signing of the agreement, which the union has not yet officially approved by its vote, wages for school workers will increase immediately by 15% and an additional 15% from January 1, 2024. In addition, wages will be recalculated for teachers from July 2021 and the difference will be paid. School employees will also receive a one-time bonus of $1,000, as well as benefits.
“Everyone has the right to health insurance, which is why we made the historic decision to provide it to all employees, even those who work part-time,” said Los Angeles School District Chairman Alberto Carvalho.
In addition, all teaching assistants will be granted the overtime they have requested. And it will also affect their salary. For the employees of the school, such an agreement, they admit, is a real victory. The strike left the city’s school children without classes for three days.
“I want to appeal to parents of Los Angeles school children, students and all who have supported our school workers, for you have handled this strike with compassion and understanding. It was necessary for us to draw attention to this problem, and if we hadn’t done it, nothing would have changed,” spoke to residents of the town Max Arias, the leader of the workers’ union. from school.
The agreement, which the parties plan to sign in the next few days, will be valid until the summer of 2024. Until then, the union says, no strikes are planned in Los Angeles schools. The discussion of the new contract will take place next summer.