Massive Strike Cancels Classes For 400,000 Kids In Nation’s Second-Largest School District

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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Teachers, bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers of the second-largest school district in the nation went on strike on Tuesday, cancelling classes for 400,000 students, according to the Associated Press.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is marching alongside the Service Employees International Union Local 99 (SEIU), which represents 30,000 support workers, as they demand a 30% pay raise and a larger staff force, according to the AP. Classes are canceled for more than 1,000 schools within the Los Angeles district as about 65,000 employees are striking over “unfair labor practices” for an expected three days. (RELATED: ‘I Wouldn’t Be Boasting’: Reports That Los Angeles’ School Lockdowns Didn’t Hurt Learning Are Misleading. Here’s Why)

“I believe this strike could have been avoided. But it cannot be avoided without individuals actually speaking to one another,” Los Angeles School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho told the AP.

Throughout the three days, at least 150 school buildings within the district will remain open for students under adult supervision though there will be no classroom instruction, the AP reported.

The school district and the unions have been in negotiation for more than a year after the SEIU’s contract expired two years ago, UTLA said in a press release. SEIU Local 99 has filed dozens of unfair labor grievances against the school district, alleging that administration has raised the prices of snacks in the staff vending machines and that cafeteria doors have been locked in an effort to prevent the union from striking, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The school district tried to block the strike on Friday, filing an injunction alleging that the union is illegally striking in an effort to stall the negotiation process, the Los Angeles Times reported. The state board decided to not issue an injunction against the strike, allowing it to proceed.

The last proposal from the school district came on Monday and included a 23% recurring raise for staff workers and a 3% cash bonus. In December, UTLA rallied against high-pressure working environments while asking for a raise, a decrease of standardized testing requirements, smaller class sizes, the installation of solar panels at the schools and purchasing of electric buses.

“We want to be clear that we are not in negotiations with LAUSD,” Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99, said in a press release. “We continue to be engaged in the impasse process with the state.”

LAUSD referred to their website and UTLA and SEIU Local 99 did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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