In California, about 60,000 education workers have ended a three-day strike at the Los Angeles Unified School District without an agreement on a new union contract. The strike prompted L.A. Mayor Karen Bass to join contract talks as a mediator, after district officials failed to reach an agreement with the union following more than a year of negotiations. SEIU Local 99 says many of its members who work as bus drivers, custodians and teachers’ aides earn poverty wages of roughly $12 per hour, in one of the most expensive cities in the United States. This is Jason Torres-Rangel, an English teacher at Roosevelt High School and winner of the 2022 California Teacher of the Year Award.
Jason Torres-Rangel: “I’m a second-generation teacher. My parents taught in LAUSD. They struck in 1989 and walked the line. I’m here proudly in my second strike with my SEIU brothers and sisters. We’re demanding a living wage for them. They’re not asking for a million dollars. They’re not asking to be millionaires. They’re asking to be lifted out of poverty. And in a district that has a $4.9 billion surplus in the richest state in the nation, that pays their superintendent $440,000 a year, I think we can afford it. I think we can show them that they deserve this respect, for them and for our students.”