Ronald Simms Jr., Senior Manager of Communications, Catalyst California 202-270-0936
Julio Esperias, Communications Manager, Community Coalition 424-409-1752
Esthefanie Solano, Communications Strategist, InnerCity Struggle 323-780-7605 x 121
LOS ANGELES – Tens of thousands of essential school workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 99 (SEIU 99) and serving students across the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced that they will lead a three-day strike to protest the district’s unfair pay and labor practices. In an important act of solidarity, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) will join the strike, representing over 35,000 teachers in LAUSD. In response, members of the Equity Alliance for LA’s Kids (Catalyst California, Community Coalition, and InnerCity Struggle) released this statement:
“The Equity Alliance for LA’s Kids calls on LAUSD Board Members and Superintendent Carvalho to support workers and families of color that have been sacrificing for far too long by making a commitment to improving their current poverty wages to liveable wages,” said Henry Perez, Executive Director at InnerCity Struggle. “SEIU Local 99 members show up every day to support and care for the next generation of Angelenos. It is time the District provides them with the same care and respect.”
SEIU 99 represents one of the largest groups of Black and Brown women and workers of color in the state, who have historically been underpaid and undervalued. A majority of SEIU 99 workers send their own children to LAUSD but do not have access to jobs that offer full-time hours or livable and equitable wages. The average salary of bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and other essential school workers at LAUSD is $25,000 a year. By contrast, a living wage in California for a person living in a household with another working adult and two children is $62,500.
This profoundly flawed payscale makes it difficult to retain and recruit staff to clean campuses, feed students, support classroom learning, and perform other services essential to students’ ability to learn.
“We at Community Coalition fully support the SEIU 99 workers and their demand for equitable wage increases, more full-time work, respectful treatment, and increased staffing levels,” said Dr. Ryan Smith, Chief Strategy Officer at Community Coalition. “Teachers know that students can’t learn without the critical work SEIU 99 members do, which is why UTLA is standing
shoulder to shoulder with them on the picket line. It’s time for the Board and Superintendent to come to the same realization and ensure these workers’ dignity in the workplace and that there are clean, safe schools for all of our children to learn and thrive.”
LAUSD is facing serious staffing shortages as a result of unlivable wages. Currently, the district has:
- An insufficient number of teacher assistants, special education assistants, and other instructional support to close the achievement gap impacting Black, Brown, and Indigenous students.
- Substandard cleaning and disinfecting at schools because of a lack of custodial staff.
- Limited enrichment, after-school, and parent engagement programs due to reduced work hours and lack of health care benefits for after-school workers.
“As one of the most progressive cities in this state and nation, now is the time for Los Angeles leaders to support the women and workers of color who represent the backbone of our community and deserve livable wages and dignity in the workplace,” said Vickie Ramos Harris, Director of Educational Equity at Catalyst California. “Now is the time for the Board and Superintendent to work with urgency to address historic underinvestment in the workers who have consistently demonstrated their commitment to the students, families, and community of Los Angeles.”
About the Equity Alliance for LA’s Kids
The Equity Alliance is a coalition of policy, advocacy, and educational nonprofits that believes public education plays a significant role in eliminating poverty and racism for the future of all Angelenos. Catalyst California (formerly Advancement Project California), Community Coalition (CoCo), Inner City Struggle (ICS), and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (Partnership) have worked with parents and student advocates to recodify the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) because, regardless of race, income or ability, every student deserves an education that sees their full potential, invests in their needs and reminds them of the infinite possibilities they have in front of them. Visit www.equityallianceforlaskids.org to learn more.
About Catalyst California:
Catalyst California (formerly Advancement Project California) advocates for racial justice by building power and transforming public systems. We partner with communities of color, conduct innovative research, develop policies for actionable change, and shift money and power back into our communities. Visit www.catalystcalifornia.org to learn more.
About Community Coalition:
For more than 30 years, Community Coalition has provided a hub to elevate South LA’s voice and empower residents to take control over the future of their neighborhoods. Community Coalition works with residents to build a prosperous and healthy South LA with safe neighborhoods, quality schools, and a strong social safety net. The coalition continues to work on positive economic development that reduces crime, poverty, and substance abuse in South LA through resident organizing, direct advocacy, and community support services. Visit www.cocosouthla.org to learn more.
About InnerCity Struggle:
InnerCity Struggle has worked with youth and community residents since 1994 to promote safe, healthy, and non-violent communities in the Eastside. We organize youth and families in Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno, and Lincoln Heights to work together for social and educational justice. InnerCity Struggle provides positive after-school programs for students to become involved in supporting our schools to succeed. We have empowered students to reach their family’s dream of college. The work of InnerCity Struggle demonstrates that youth and parents working together are a powerful force for improving their communities and making real change. Visit www.innercitystruggle.org to learn more.