A workers' strike in Los Angeles, California, has now reached day two, as the bus driver and school support staff walkout has brought the city's school system to a grinding halt, keeping children at home and bringing the low pay of those workers to the forefront.
The Workers Strike:
The strike, which began Tuesday, is expected to last three days. The walkout was brought forward by teachers' assistants, custodians, and other support staff who are among the lowest-paid workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, who sought to bring to light how little compensation they were provided.
Since then, teachers have joined the fight, also walking out from classrooms in solidarity with their fellow employees in an action that has forced the nation's second-largest school district, which serves nearly half a million students, to close down schools and wait.
What the Workers Want:
The issue at hand for many of the workers is low pay with understaffed public schools. Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union represents around 30,000 of the district's teachers' aides, special education assistants, bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers, as well as other staff. Local 99 says that many of its members have been forced to live in poverty because of their low pay or limited work hours and are demanding a 30% raise from the average $25,000 per year that they currently receive.
"The issue in Los Angeles is not confined to Los Angeles. It's an issue across the country and it has been decades in the making," said Princess Moss, vice president of the National Education Association said, via the Associated Press. "It's an injustice for these school employees who work so hard and do so much for our students."
United Teachers of Los Angeles, which represents 35,000 educators, counselors, and other staff, has also thrown its support behind the strikers.
Could This Spread Elsewhere?
Many times when mass walkouts occur, it can cause a ripple effect throughout the country, spawning numerous other walkouts, even in other sectors not related to the original walkout.
And while it is unclear as of now whether or not there will be others, it will be notable to keep an eye out on tense situations throughout the West Coast, including the state of Arizona, which not-so-long ago experienced a teacher's strike of its own during the Red-for-Ed movement.
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