Los Angeles area schools were closed for over a year and a half during the pandemic–some of the longest closures in the nation–and reports have since flooded in describing learning loss, depression, overdoses, and mental health problems among students. But do the public sector unions that really run California care about the children?
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) held a massive, raucous rally Wednesday in downtown’s Grand Park to announce that their more than 30,000 school support staff–including bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria employees, campus security, and teaching assistants–will strike from March 21 to 23.
But the teachers will still teach, right? No. Supporters of the 35,000 educators from the United Teachers of Los Angeles union (UTLA) came out in force to join the SEIU in solidarity:
“Are you ready to shut it down? Are you ready to shut it down?!” the organizer yells from the stage in the above video.
Are SIEU’s demands reasonable? You decide: they want a 30 percent raise and a $2 per hour equity wage increase. No, I don’t know what an “equity wage increase” is, but RedState, if you’re listening, I want a 30 percent raise too. And I definitely deserve an hourly “equity wage” increase, and to be fair, let’s round it up to an additional $5 an hour.
The district is offering more than a 15 percent raise, retention bonuses, and a plan to bring its minimum wage up to $20.
LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho wrote a letter Monday night to parents saying he hoped a strike could still be avoided:
“We are committed to continue good faith bargaining with our labor partners around the clock to reach an agreement before a strike occurs. I have invited union leaders to have a direct conversation with me to negotiate day and night to reach an understanding to spare our children from the avoidable disastrous consequences of a strike. Our students should not be victims,” his letter reads.
It’s not the first time UTLA and its toxic president Cecily Myart-Cruz showed little regard for children; as I wrote in August she claimed “there is no such thing as learning loss” and instead of endorsing a paid four-day voluntary extra learning effort to help students catch up after the devastating lockdowns, she led her union in boycotting the first day to… you guessed it… attend protests.
Imagine you’re a low-income worker (like say, a cafeteria worker) and you’re told your kid’s school is closed for the next three days. You can’t afford or find daycare–but you have to go to work or you don’t get paid. What do you do?
That’s the situation that will face large numbers of parents in the almost 600,000-strong student district if this strike goes forward as planned.
If this is who’s in charge of educating your kids, you’re in big trouble, as I wrote:
It should come as no surprise then to discover that the union president, Cecily Myart-Cruz, is a radical who tried to keep schools closed as long as possible during the pandemic (going so far as to say that California’s re-opening plan in 2021 was “propagating structural racism”) and who continues to spout inflammatory rhetoric in the few interviews she now gives.
I understand that SEIU school support staff want higher wages; Biden’s inflation has made life more difficult for everyone, especially those at the lower end of the economic ladder. But a 30 percent wage hike seems pretty aggressive. UTLA, meanwhile, proved consistently throughout the pandemic that it cared more about negotiating for teachers not to have to teach and to extend lockdowns than it worried about the education of the children it supposedly serves.
The problem with public sector unions is that they’re seeking more money from taxpayers while negotiating with politicians, who are paid by taxpayers. Carvalho made it very clear today that they’re harming kids who can least afford it.
I don’t envy him at all. But one thing is certain–closing schools for another three days would be disastrous for the children of Los Angeles, already one of the worst-suffering school populations in the country. The unions don’t seem too concerned about that.
The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.
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