The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union for teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), revealed Tuesday that it will take part in a multi-day strike next week, causing school shutdowns.
UTLA plans to strike with SEIU Local 99, reported local ABC affiliate KABC-7.
The group represents around 30,000 cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants, and other workers, and plans to begin the strike on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that L.A. schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho called for union leadership to negotiate and avoid the strike, pointing out that it could negatively affect over 420,000 students ostensibly attempting to recover academically and emotionally from over year-long school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachers are reportedly calling to receive pay increases in addition to specialized funding for Black students, as well as more support for low-income residencies.
Previously, UTLA held a demonstration in 2019, shutting down schools across the city for days until the group secured a 6% bump in pay.
The union-backed the Black Lives Matter movement, appearing at an event with leaders from the group in 2020 to express its support for defunding the police.
“We have to dismantle white supremacy. We must … defund the police and bring in the mental health services that our students need,” Cecily Myart-Cruz, then-incoming president of UTLA, said at the time.
Cruz notably was staunchly opposed to allowing schoolchildren to attend class in person for as long as a year following the commencement of the COVID-19 Pandemic. On March 1, 2021, the union president said Newsom’s announced plan to re-open schools would worsen “structural racism.”
9) United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz, March 1, 2021, said Newsom's plan to re-open schools would worsen "structural racism" pic.twitter.com/9gPWCw1u5m
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 1, 2022
UTLA also described reopening initiatives as racist.
“We are preparing to strike because, after nearly a year of negotiations with the district, they have not been fruitful,” said Blanca Gallegos, who is affiliated with SEIU Local 99. “Workers are asking for a living wage. Right now workers of LAUSD earn below the poverty line.”
SEIU is reportedly seeking a combined total 30% increase in wages for the next few years.