School workers union ratifies 3-year deal with LA Unified
LA School Report | July 3, 2014
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Members of the school service workers union, SEIU Local 99, have ratified their three-year contract agreement with LA Unified, raising the wage of nearly 20,000 workers to $15 an hour by July 1, 2016.
The union said in a statement early this morning that 82 percent of the members approved the contract after three days of voting. The union consists of cafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants and campus safety monitors.
Courtni Pugh, the union’s executive director, said in a statement that the agreement “sets a new standard for ending poverty in our schools. This will be felt in school districts across Los Angeles and across the country.”
She added, “This establishes a living wage that will mean mom and dad can help with their children’s homework instead of clocking in for their second job.”
In addition to the minimum wage increase for workers earning below $15 an hour, the agreement includes a projected 6.64 percent raise over three years for all other workers. The district has guaranteed a first year raise of 2 percent but said projected raises over the next two years are contingent on the money being available — an uncertainty that angered many union members despite their overwhelming support for ratifying the deal.
At the board meeting on July 1, Superintendent John Deasy acknowledged the uncertain nature of the deal, saying the district has some “belt-tightening” to do to meet the terms of the contract over the second and third years.
The agreement with the district also provides other improvements aimed at improving the quality of student services, such as increased staffing hours for the workers and a process for expanding OASIS, an SEIU local 99 that offers services such as health care, counseling, and tutoring to students and their parents directly on LAUSD campuses.
“This is a great day for Los Angeles,” Pugh said. “A $15 minimum wage at the country’s second largest employer lifts everyone up . . .The impact of this agreement will be felt for years to come.”