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Deal with workers averts one-day strike that could have shut down L.A. schools

Deal with workers averts one-day strike that could have shut down L.A. schools
Nonteaching L.A. school district employees, including these who took part in a February protest, can now celebrate a new contract rather than plan for a strike. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles school district and union officials announced a contract agreement Tuesday night that averted a one-day strike planned for next week.

The pact, which runs through June 2020, removes one labor problem from the desk of incoming Supt. Austin Beutner — whose first day on the job would have coincided with the strike.

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Plenty of other challenges remain.

The agreement also serves as an achievement for outgoing interim Supt. Vivian Ekchian.

The deal applies to the 30,000 part-time and full-time nonteaching employees who are represented by Local 99 of Service Employees International Union. Local 99 represents bus drivers, cafeteria workers, teaching assistants and aides for disabled students.

Under the accord, these workers will receive a 3% raise retroactive to July 1, 2017. Some employees will receive 4% because they received smaller raises in the previous contract. These raises are permanent.

The contract also includes a second, later 3% raise that may or may not be permanent — depending on the district's overall financial health.

One key concession by the union is that employees will have to work longer to earn retiree health benefits. Fewer are likely to achieve these benefits.

The one-day strike, planned for May 15, would likely have shut down campuses across the nation's second-largest school system. The teachers union was urging its members not to cross picket lines.

The stated purpose of the strike was to protest alleged labor law violations, which the district denied. The settlement prompted both parties to put that issue aside.

UPDATES:

9 p.m.: This story was updated with the announcement of a labor deal that averted the one-day strike. Details of the deal were included.

5 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional details about the two unions' plans.

This article was originally published at 3:30 p.m.

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