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Los Angeles school workers’ union votes to approve new contract with school district

<i>Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images</i><br/>Los Angeles Unified School District teachers join school aids as they strike in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday
MediaNews Group via Getty Images
Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images
Los Angeles Unified School District teachers join school aids as they strike in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday

By Dakin Andone and Rebekah Riess, CNN

The union representing thousands of Los Angeles school workers has voted “overwhelmingly” to approve a new contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District after last month’s three-day strike, union officials said in a news release Saturday.

More than 99% of Service Employees International Union Local 99 members voted to approve the new agreement in voting held between April 3 and 7, per the union, which represents about 30,000 Los Angeles school custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other student services staff.

The board of the Los Angeles Unified School District also has to vote on the agreement, which the union said includes:

• A 30% wage increase, bringing the average salary from $25,000 to $33,000

• A $1,000 bonus for those who worked during the Covid-19 pandemic

• Fully paid family health care benefits that will be expanded to teachers’ assistants and after-school program workers, among others

• Increased hours for workers like special education assistants

“This contract recognizes the essential work of those who work hard to ensure students can learn in a clean, safe, and supportive environment,” Max Arias, SEIU Local 99 executive director, said in the release.

“It is a major step forward with significant improvements to wages, work hours, and benefits for dedicated education workers who have been left behind for far too long.”

Feeling undervalued by what the union said were low wages, minimal staffing and inadequate hours, members went on strike for three days last month, between March 21 and 23, halting classes for the more than half a million students served by the nation’s second-largest school district.

The United Teachers Los Angeles union supported the school workers’ strike, urging its members to join picket lines and rallies in solidarity. The strike followed nearly a year of unsuccessful negotiations with the LAUSD.

“We’re not asking for the world,” custodian Jose Tovar told CNN affiliate KCBS/KCAL at the time, “but just … to live above water.”

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Holly Yan, Elizabeth Wolfe and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.

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