Cafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants, campus safety monitors and other school service workers represented by SEIU Local 99 have ratified their contract agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District that includes a landmark wage increase to $15 an hour by July 2016 and will open up a world of possibilities for nearly 20,000 school workers and their families.
It has "thrust the system into the forefront of a national movement and marks another political victory for a powerful labor group," according to the Los Angeles Times.
As Congress remains gridlocked, the contract for the lowest-paid workers in the nation's second-largest school district marks the latest win in the growing movement by workers to currently sweeping the country to raise wages.
"This historic agreement sets a new standard for ending poverty in our schools," said Local 99 Executive Director Courtni Pugh. "This will be felt in school districts across Los Angeles and across the country." LAUSD Supt. John Deasy said that through education, "we lift youth out of poverty every single day." The school system must do its part, he added, "to make sure parents are not remaining in poverty."
"As our nation struggles with questions about justice and fairness for low-wage workers, LAUSD must lead by example," said Steve Zimmer, a school board member who joined others in a unanimous vote of approval for the contract. Read more about the new contract here.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry also hailed the agreement, saying that "at this pivotal moment in the Fight for 15, this groundbreaking contract is a shining example of the transformative power of workers coming together with employers to improve wages, benefits, quality of services and the future of our communities."