Thousands of Los Angeles union members skipped school last week to demand more funding and job opportunities for Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) employees. The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and SEIU Local 99, the local union representing district support staff, rallied outside a school board meeting to protest the district’s budget.

The UTLA’s current contract includes a 21% salary increase and the SEIU Local 99 negotiated a 30% wage increase last year, but union members still want more. The L.A. Times reported that “angry union leaders lashed out against Supt. Alberto Carvalho” at last week’s school board meeting, demanding that he fulfill a “pledge to protect jobs and employee benefits.” 

The district is facing a long-anticipated fiscal cliff as enrollment continues to plummet and the over $4 billion received by the district in federal Covid-era Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) aid winds down. Even though student enrollment in the LAUSD dropped by more than 70,000 students between the 2017-18 and 2021-22 school years, the school district unwisely created over 10,000 new employees in those five years. The budget “cuts” to positions the unions are protesting were inevitable. Massive wage and position increases aren’t sustainable in a school district projected to face an additional 19% enrollment decline by 2031-32. 

Surprise, surprise, the unions plan to strike if they don’t get their way. The UTLA and SEIU Local 99 members have authorized a three-day strike that would force all district schools to close. 

To learn more about how teachers unions relentlessly demand more funding, read “$50 Billion Chicago Teachers Union Contract Demands Higher Pay And Lower Expectations,” “St. Paul Federation Of Educators (Minnesota) Threatens To Close Schools,” and “Portland Teachers Union Strike.”

For more information about teachers unions, check out the IWF Education Freedom Center’s Teachers Union Resource Center.