Los Angeles Schools Shut Down for Strike

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The country’s second-largest school district is cancelling classes Tuesday-Thursday due to a union strike that will close hundreds of campuses and keep over 400,000 students home during the workweek.

“We must formally announce that all schools across LAUSD will be closed to students tomorrow,” Alberto Carvalho, the district’s superintendent, said on Twitter on Monday night.

The union behind the strike, Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, represents 30,000 support workers in nonteaching positions within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

They seek a 30% overall pay increase, an additional $2-an-hour increase for the lowest-paid workers, and other increases in compensation.

The union declined a counteroffer from the district which included a 20% increase over several years and a onetime 5% bonus.

The Los Angeles teachers’ union, which represents about 35,000 teachers, is not a part of the dispute, but said it would walk out in solidarity and to avoid crossing the workers’ picket lines.

As a result, parents are forced to make other arrangements for their children during the three-day strike.

Education Strikes on the Rise

In 2018, an activism campaign formed under the hashtag #RedforEd launched a wave of education strikes across the country.

The effort somewhat surprisingly kicked off in Republican-led states with weaker labor unions in areas that overwhelmingly voted for former President Donald Trump.

It began in West Virginia with a statewide teachers’ strike that shut down schools for almost two weeks. It ended in a 5% raise for public teachers and school personnel, whose salaries are set in state code.

Arizona also saw statewide strikes, while walkouts in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Colorado were limited to a day.

2019 saw the focus shift to large Democrat-run cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.

Strikes have become focused on more than just pay in recent years.

The majority of these social justice based efforts are organized by militant union leaders or members who go astray on their own.

But they have accomplished their goals in some cases, as in West Virginia where strikers blocked the introduction of charter schools.

When it comes to strikes over wages and poor working conditions, public support for organized labor is at a 50-year high in the US.

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