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All LAUSD schools closed Tuesday due to strike

LAUSD worker prepare to continue three-day strike
LAUSD worker prepare to continue three-day strike 03:05

Time has run out for the Los Angeles Unified School District to reach a deal with tens of thousands of frustrated employees. 

Tuesday at 4:30 a.m., more than 60,000 LAUSD workers and teachers began walking picket lines in the rain after reaching an impasse in labor negotiations. Service Employees International Union Local 99 employees declared their intent to strike for three days this week, from Tuesday through Thursday. United Teachers Los Angeles teachers are striking in solidarity with SEIU support staff.

"Enough of the disrespect," SEIU Local 99 President Conrado Guerrero said Tuesday. "We refuse to be invisible. We refuse to be silenced. We are ready to fight. And we are proud to be joined by teachers who are striking in solidarity with us. United, we will win."

LAUSD workers walk the picket line Tuesday morning 03:12

Congressman Adam Schiff joined striking union members to speak out Tuesday morning.

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

On Monday afternoon, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced that district schools will close due to the strike.  More than 1,000 schools are affected.

"With more than 500,000 students and their families affected by today's school closures, the City is providing meals and safe places for young people at dozens of locations across Los Angeles," L.A. Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement Tuesday. "I will make sure the wellbeing of L.A. students always comes first as I continue to work with all parties to reach an agreement to reopen the schools and guarantee fair treatment of all LAUSD workers."

"We remain 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," Carvalho said in a statement Tuesday. "I understand our employees' frustration that has been brewing, not just for a couple of years, but probably for decades. 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."  

"We do not believe at this point that tomorrow's event is avoidable," Carvalho said Monday. "With that said, I will be here for however long it takes waiting on a call from a willing partner to have a meaningful conversation."  

LAUSD, unions fail to reach agreement to prevent strike 04:19

"It is not a question of being greedy," said LAUSD employee Adrian Alverez. "We need to make a living wage."

Alverez and his fellow LAUSD custodians, special education aides as well as other support staff, have made several demands including a 30% pay increase, more staffing and more hours for part-time workers. 

"We live in this weird paradox as workers that help feed children and yet we struggle to feed our own children," said Alverez. "It's a paradox. We help students go to college, yet we don't have enough money to send our kids to college."

Carvalho tweeted a statement Monday afternoon: "Let's continue to negotiate for as long as it takes for our students. We must avoid lost instructional and social and emotional development time."

Hours later, Carvalho tweeted: "Despite our invitation for a transparent, honest conversation that perhaps would result in a meaningful solution that would avoid a strike, we must formally announce that all schools across LAUSD will be closed to students tomorrow. We continue to be available to have a conversation tonight, early morning and all throughout the day tomorrow."

Tensions continued to mount after the Service Employees International Union Local 99 said the district broke confidentiality by leaking a mediation meeting to the media before informing the union's bargaining team.

"This afternoon, SEIU Local 99 had agreed to enter a confidential mediation process with LAUSD to try and address our differences," said executive director Max Arias. "This is yet another example of the school district's continued disrespect of school workers. We are ready to strike."

LAUSD Board President Jackie Goldberg admitted she leaked the announcement of the meeting. 

"I was proud that they were coming to the table for mediation," said Goldberg. "I wanted to congratulate them. I had no idea that they thought it was a secret."

Arias further stated that the union was not in negotiations with LAUSD after reaching an impasse. 

Following this allegation, Carvalho held a press conference where he said the district's latest proposal included a 23% wage increase.

"We cannot run a school system without our indispensable partners represented by SEIU 99 or our indispensable partners represented by UTLA," he said. "Our support staff members are critically important to us. The work they do is valuable."

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