LAUSD Breaks Their Silence and Works Together Against Superintendent Carvalho


Photo Credit: Mia Alvarez

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the second largest school district in the nation. As rain pummeled the sidewalks and wind bent back umbrellas LAUSD held a three-day strike that closed schools throughout Los Angeles from Tuesday, March 21 to Thursday, March 23. 


The union, SEIU Local 99, consists of non-teaching employees including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodial workers, special ed assistants, regular assistants and campus aids. United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union representing teachers in the district, participated in the strike to show solidarity.

A few words from Heliotrope Elementary School staff regarding how they feel about the strike and what the outcome could be:

Romero Romo, Building and Grounds Worker, states “My message is to get better benefits for everybody from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top because we need to have respect from the big chief.” 


Esteban Flores, Building and Ground Worker, says “I hope to achieve from this strike is to have more positions open so we can actually not be overworked by the district and have a higher pay with all this inflation. People can really afford the higher prices so it is only reasonable for us  to have a little increase in our wage.”


Cheryl Meadows, UTLA Chapter Chair for Heliotrope Elementary School, said “We feel that Local 99 has been mistreated so that is why we are not going to cross the picket lines because we are showing support to them because they deserve to get a raise and better working conditions and health benefits.”


Erica Sanchez, Special Education teacher for Heliotrope Elementary School explains how striking in the rain is beneficial and how it gave her flashbacks from the SEIU Local 99 strike in 2019. “It actually rained every single day, so I got flashbacks from then, but I actually think that being in the rain and actually huddling together forces you to make new friends, learn something new about someone that you didn’t know about on your campus, and you end up being more unified at the end.”

One of the quotes Carvalho stated that ignited the fire among the SEIU Local 99 workers is located below:

LAUSD Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, stated “1,2,3…Circus = a predictable performance with a known outcome, desiring of nothing more than an applause, a coin, and a promise of a next show. Let’s do right, for once, without circus, for kids, for community, for decency.”


During the three-day strike, workers will strike outside of their own school sites in the morning and in the afternoon, they will go to a different location. On the first day of the strike, the location was at LAUSD headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles. The second day was at the Local District East Office. The third day was at LA Historic Park because the representatives of SEIU didn’t expect so many people to come out and support, so they needed a big enough space to accommodate all the workers. 


SEIU Local 99 demanded a 30% wage increase + $2/hour equity wage adjustment for all, more full-time hours, respect, cashing out vacation pay, and eliminating unassigned days. LAUSD wanted to give an increase of 3.7% per year, still have the ability to cut hours at any time, and to continue unpaid furlough days.

Did LAUSD finally make an agreement with SEIU?

On Friday, March 24 LAUSD obtained a history making agreement between SEIU. They agreed on a 30% wage increase, 7 hours of work guaranteed for Special Education Assistants, and a $1000 bonus for all working in 2020-21.