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FAQ: SEIU Solidarity Strike March 21-23
Solidarity Strike FAQ
What are the dates for the SEIU 99 Unfair Practice Charge strike?
At the March 15 rally, SEIU Local 99 announced dates for their three-day Unfair Practice Charge strike: Tuesday, March 21, Wednesday, March 22, and Thursday, March 23. UTLA will strike in solidarity and UTLA’s elected leaders are encouraging all 35,000 UTLA educators to join SEIU 99 in a solidarity strike. SEIU 99 members have been working under a contract that expired in 2021 and are among the lowest paid employees in LAUSD — $25,000 a year on average. In December, they declared impasse with the district and in February, SEIU 99 members voted 96% yes to authorize a strike.
How does standing in solidarity with SEIU impact our bargaining?
A strong contract for SEIU 99 members — who help keep our schools running and students ready to learn — is a win for our schools and communities and helps us win the contract that we need. This is our opportunity to demonstrate our collective power as we push to win our Beyond Recovery contract demands this school year.
What does a solidarity strike mean?
It means you do not go to work. Instead, you join the picket line at your school site. If there is not a picket line at your school site, you should join one at a nearby school. We will post locations of all picket lines. Nearly everyone will have a picket line within two miles of their school. There will be midday rallies during the strike and everyone should plan on attending those as well.
Are there protections for members who don’t cross?
UTLA members, like all workers, have a legal right to honor the strike and join the picket lines. UTLA as an organization has a right to support and join the strike and it is important that we do so and demonstrate our collective power. UTLA has submitted notice to LAUSD that UTLA members will be on strike these days.
What if I am a non-permanent teacher? Or if I’m on probation?
Probationary and non-permanent employees have the same legal right as all other workers to join this strike. Probationary teachers participated in our 2019 strike. You are just starting your career at LAUSD. More than anyone else you have a lot to gain by supporting SEIU 99 and changing the power dynamic in LAUSD.
How will participating in this solidarity strike affect retirement, if at all?
The impact on your service year credit for such an action usually adds up to pennies a day, but you can also purchase service credit from STRS if you qualify, and unused accumulated illness leave will supplement your overall service year credit. As long as you work 100 days in a school year your service credit year counts. Demonstrating power alongside SEIU as they protest LAUSD’s unfair practices will only help us win our contract with a raise that will have a far greater impact in improving your monthly retirement check.
How will participating in this solidarity strike health benefits, if at all?
It will not affect your health insurance as long as you have worked at least one other day in the month of March. No one lost health benefits in our 2019 strike. Regular accumulation of workday requirements remain in effect for Substitute employees. Supporting SEIU members builds power and actually helps protect your health insurance as we negotiate for health benefits alongside SEIU.
What if my school doesn’t have an SEIU 99 picket line and/or any SEIU 99 members? Can I still stay out?
Absolutely. This is a citywide strike. You should join a picket line at a nearby school and the rallies that will be announced for later in the day. Nearly every school will have a picket line within two miles.
How does an Unfair Practice Charge strike differ from other kinds of strikes?
An Unfair Practice Charge strike (UPC strike) is a strike in protest of legal violations committed by the employer (LAUSD). As such, this type of strike does not require completing the mediation and fact-finding processes that are required in the context of an economic strike, like the 2019 UTLA strike. This type of strike is protected activity under the law.
Do I call for a sub each day we’re on a solidarity strike?
No. Getting your classroom covered is solely the district’s responsibility.
Can I call in sick or use personal necessity days?
No. You can be disciplined for calling in sick if you are not legitimately using sick leave. You have a legal right to honor the strike. You are not protected if you call in sick. Using personal necessity days means you are not on strike and you are not standing in solidarity with your co-workers.
What do I tell my students about the potential SEIU 99 three-day UPC strike?
During non-instructional time, inform your students that you will need to be out of the classroom/worksite if SEIU 99 goes on a UPC strike. Let them know that it may be necessary to temporarily stop working to stand in solidarity with your SEIU 99 coworkers and fight for better schools for students, where workplace laws are followed and not violated. You may also want to share some of the key issues with them. Reinforce this when they see you picketing.
Should I tell my students not to come to school during the SEIU 99 three-day UPC strike?
No. As a credentialed teacher, you can’t tell students not to come to school. Students and parents will make their own decisions.
Since Carvalho announced that they will close the schools during the strike, will we have to make up those days?
First, we should understand that Carvalho announcing that they will close the schools is a recognition that they cannot run the schools without us and SEIU. He should remember that. By choosing not to settle the issues and instead closing the schools Carvalho is putting LAUSD at financial risk of state funding penalties for not meeting the minimum required number of instructional days. If LAUSD wants to avoid that impact by adding days to the school calendar, they will have to negotiate that with us as a union.
If I am currently in an extended position, will participating in the SEIU strike be considered a break in service?
No. Our position remains as it was in 2019. Substitutes that are currently in an extended assignment and return to the same assignment after the strike will be compensated accordingly.