Tami Abdollah / KPCC
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside L.A. Unified headquarters downtown as the board met inside to discuss the district's dire budget picture. (March 2012)
L.A. Unified's classified workers have voted to approve an agreement on 10 furlough days for the 2012-13 school year to save about 6,000 union jobs and $40 million in district spending, a union official said today.
"They did accept to take the 10 furlough days next school year. That will move forward," said SEIU Local 99 spokeswoman Blanca Gallegos. "In terms of any additional cuts that will be impacted by the governor's initiative" to raise taxes on the November ballot.
"So there was a really strong commitment to take part in that election, because a lot hinges on that," Gallegos said. She said the votes were tallied Saturday. The L.A. Unified school board will vote on this agreement and a tentative agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles for 10 furlough days at its board meeting Tuesday.
The 10 furlough days would affect about 30,000 SEIU Local 99 members, who include cafeteria workers, special education assistants, bus drivers, custodians and instructional aides.
The classified union has already taken 16 furlough days over the last three years, Gallegos said. This academic year union members took four furlough days, she said. But 10 furlough days — or the equivalent of two unpaid weeks off — next year would be the greatest number they have taken in any one year, Gallegos said.
"It's also important to keep in mind that these are among the lowest paid workers of the district," Gallegos said. "Custodians, cafeteria workers, we know it's a hardship for our members...but we also know it's necessary in order to save jobs and to also protect services students need."
Gallegos said the agreement rescinds about 100 layoff notices that were sent to custodians as well as notices to members who would have had their year-round work reduced to 11 months.
The district is facing a $390 million shortfall that has forced it to cut many programs in its budget plan and send preliminary pink slips to thousands of educators.