On Tuesday, the teachers’ union in Los Angeles initiated a three-day strike, resulting in approximately 30,000 teachers going on strike.
The second-largest school district in the United States was forced to cancel classes for nearly 500,000 students.
The Service Employees International Union Local 99 is demanding an increase in the poverty wages of its members, which include school bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, and classroom assistants, with an average salary of $25,000 per year.
The strikes have impacted over 420,000 students, many of whom rely on schools for meals, counseling, and other social services.
On Tuesday, the district stated that numerous school district employees and volunteers provided more than 124,000 meals to these students.
Protestors, including teachers and supporters, congregated outside the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters for a rally under the banner “United for LA Schools.”
“This school system is inadequately funded,” stated Findlay Bunting, a special education teacher.
“As educators, we work closely with support staff, who are remarkable. However, they have been underpaid for years.”
The striking workers have the support of at least 35,000 members of the United Teachers Los Angeles union.
Several regions of the United States are grappling with a shortage of teachers, as educators continue to protest against low wages and burnout.
LA schools superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, acknowledges that the workers are not receiving adequate pay.
The union is requesting a 30 percent salary increase and an additional $2 per hour for the lowest-paid workers, as per the Los Angeles Times.
On Monday, Carvalho informed reporters that the district was proposing a 23 percent raise plus a three percent bonus, with additional resources still on the table.
According to a survey by the National Education Association last year, 55 percent of educators were contemplating leaving the profession due to burnout and low pay.
Since the onset of the pandemic, at least 86 percent of respondents reported that many of their colleagues have already quit.