Los Angeles Unified, however, believes the union has put economic issues front and center and unsuccessfully lobbied the state to block the planned strike.
In 2019, the union representing about 35,000 Los Angeles Unified teachers staged a six-day strike. At the time, Local 99 held sympathy strikes to keep schools open for students, although they were drop-off sites and classes were not held. The teachers union, which is currently engaged in contract negotiations, staged a walkout Tuesday in solidarity with support workers. Both unions have fought the district over acceleration days, which would have provided extra support to students but cut back on scheduled school holidays.
At a time when support for organized labor is high, strikes by teachers and academic staff have become increasingly common. Coupled with high inflation rates and competitive wages in the private sector, public servants are realizing the need for drastic change.
“Nobody likes to see kids out of school,” said Maura Contreras, a special education assistant at an elementary school. “But we have to take this step now.”
45 year old Mrs. Contreras said some of her co-workers have put several jobs on hold to make ends meet. Her own salary doesn’t help pay for her three-bedroom apartment, she said. She shares the $2,800 rent with her husband and her father, who work as gardeners.
“There should be changes in wages,” he said. “We’re not being looked at by the district.”
For Griselda Perez, a parent volunteer at Hollenbeck Middle School on the Eastside, the strike was a teachable moment.
“When the resources are not there and your voice is not heard, you have to strike,” Mrs. Perez said.