To be clear, we do not want to strike. However, after nearly a year of negotiations, LAUSD has not made any significant movement to improve our wages and staffing for student services. In fact, they are bargaining in bad faith. To hold the District accountable, our Bargaining Team is considering a strike. We will continue to negotiate in good faith with LAUSD and follow all procedures under the law, but we must consider strong action to ensure the District also bargains with us in good faith. We understand this is a difficult decision and you may have questions about striking. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about your right to strike. If you have more questions, please contact your Steward or Union Organizer or fill out an Inquiry Form at http://www.seiu99.org/help.
Why are we considering going on strike?
To protest LAUSD bargaining with us in bad faith. While we were negotiating over staffing, they suddenly began to cut the work hours of Special Education Assistants and Trainees. Members of our Bargaining Team have been retaliated against at work and union organizers have been subjected to harassment at school sites. All of this is against the law. We have filed Unfair Practice Charges with the State of California Public Employment Relations Board. We need to send a strong message to LAUSD that it needs to stop its unfair practice campaign against workers and negotiate in good faith with us.
Who will make the decision to take us on strike?
The decision to go on strike will be made by the members of Local 99. There are three steps to the process:
- We will ask members about their willingness to strike. Members will fill out a form to show where they stand on a strike. The form is not a vote. It is simply a way for our Bargaining Team to assess what a majority of members think about striking.
Members will be deciding in an official strike authorization vote March 12 through 24. If members vote to support a strike, this vote will give the elected members of our Bargaining Team permission to call for a lawful strike, if the District continues to bargain in bad faith.
- Our Bargaining Team will call for a strike and members and the District will be officially notified.
I thought we had a “no strike” clause in our contract and we can’t strike.
Our contract does include language that prohibits a strike while the contract is in effect. However, our current contract expired on June 30, 2017. We agreed with the District to extend it while we continue negotiations. However, either party can suspend any part of the contract during this time, including the “no strike clause.” Once this happens, we can legally strike.
If we can suspend the “no strike” clause, doesn’t that mean the District can also suspend the “no lockout” clause?
It is against the law for the District to lock us out in retaliation for going on a legally-protected strike. However, we must be prepared for the possibility that they may attempt to do so. If we go on strike and you are locked-out of work, document what happened and report it to your Steward immediately or complete an Inquiry Form at http://www.seiu99.org/help so we may take the appropriate legal action.
I’m scared about going out on strike. Can I get in trouble, be replaced or even fired?
A lawful strike is protected activity. Meaning it is against labor law for employers to fire, permanently replace, retaliate against or discipline employees who participate in a lawful strike. In the event of a strike, it will be critical that workers document any retaliation and report it to our union immediately.
Do I have to strike?
If a majority of members vote to support a strike, it is critical that we show our power through unity. The District’s response will depend on the strength of our participation. The expectation is that all members will honor the picket line, not go to work and join the picket line at least on all days that they would have been scheduled to work.
Will the union be providing financial assistance?
We recognize that a strike means a personal sacrifice because you will not be paid your regular wages during the strike period. While the union does not have a strike fund, some limited assistance would be available through our food pantry and community resources, including the Los Angeles Labor Federation’s Community Services program. Keep in mind that the District is required to pay you for any hours worked before or after the strike when you normally receive your paycheck.
How long would we be on strike?
Right now, no timeline has been set. Our Bargaining Team would determine the duration of the strike. However, the goal of the strike is to show our unity and make sure the District negotiates with us in good faith and we need to be committed to stand strong for as long as it takes.
Can my manager ask me if I’m planning to strike?
If managers ask you about a strike, you should simply say, “Our Union has advised members that we have the legal right to keep our strike plans private.” Managers do not have the right to ask you about a strike in a hostile or coercive manner.
Can I call in sick?
No. You will have no legal protection if you call in sick and participate in a strike.
Can I use vacation time to strike?
No, vacation time cannot be used for the strike. Striking is a legally protected activity.
Will I be covered by my health insurance during the strike?
The District cannot stop coverage for an otherwise eligible employee simply because they went out on strike.
What if I am already approved for leave during the strike period?
If your time off is already approved for vacation, medical or other leave, it still stands. If you are told otherwise, immediately contact your Steward or complete an Inquiry Form at http://www.seiu99.org/help.
Can workers in Unit G strike?
All striking workers have protections under the law. The reality is the more visible workers are about their union activity, the more effective we can be in enforcing their legal protections.
What will happen to students if we strike?
It’s important to remember that part of the reason we are considering a strike is to force the District to address and resolve issues that are impactng students, including low staffing and cuts to vital student services. In the event of a strike, the District will have to pay attention to the critical services Local 99 members provide every day. They will be required to ensure that students receive all the instructional time and services they need. This may mean that they hire temporary workers. However, the District cannot permanently replace workers participating in a lawful strike.