Letters to the Editor: An LAUSD strike will remind L.A. how important its schools are

Los Angeles, CA - March 15: A crowd gathered in Grand Park infant of City Hall on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, CA. United Teachers of Los Angeles and SEIU 99 members hold a joint rally at Grand Park in a historic show of solidarity. It has been almost ten months since the contract between LAUSD and UTLA has expired, and a staggering three years for SEIU members, leaving almost 60,000 employees vulnerable in the midst of a record-high inflation and a housing crisis. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
UTLA and SEIU Local 99 members hold a joint rally in downtown L.A. on March 15 ahead of a possible strike that would shut down schools for three days. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I wholeheartedly think a major strike that closes schools would be good for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

I am a retired high school English teacher with 41 years of experience in LAUSD. I support everything the union representing non-teaching employees, Service Employees International, is asking for. Teachers would not be able to function without its members.

The teachers' union, United Teachers Los Angeles, has always wanted what is good for students. Continuing to teach in schools where fights break out because not enough campus security aides are available, where bathrooms do not have hot water and where air conditioners and heaters break is not good for students.

How does LAUSD Supt. Alberto M. Carvalho expect to hire and retain competent teachers unless he is willing to raise salaries significantly for everyone who interacts with students and parents? How does the district expect teachers to get the job done without the appropriate learning environment? Teachers sweep our own classrooms and wash our own desks to supplement the reduced custodial staffs.

So yes, shut down the schools for three days. Remind parents of how difficult it was for them to do child care and educate their children during remote learning.

Johanna Bernstein, Los Angeles


To the editor: As the LAUSD faces a three-day shutdown of its schools, two points need to be made.

First, it's true that the employees represented by SEIU Local 99 are low-wage workers who deserve better pay. However, these employees, spouses and dependent children receive full health benefits at no cost to the employee. These benefits are worth more than $10,000 per calendar year.

Second, a three-day strike would have met students' needs better if it were scheduled for Monday through Wednesday or Wednesday through Friday. Sandwiching the three days in the middle of the week essentially disrupts the entire week of March 20. Attendance is typically the lightest on Mondays and Fridays.

I taught in LAUSD for 30 years.

Ed Kaz, Oak Park


To the editor: There is a great deal more to consider in understanding the dispute between L.A. Unified and the unions representing non-teaching employees. UTLA has shown its support in stating its members would join a strike.

It is a known fact that three of the most important careers in our lives are teachers, police and firefighters, yet our elected officials give massive tax breaks to those who already have become wealthy at the expense of those who are the backbone of our lives.

If we as a society cannot see that our tax dollars should recognize the contribution our teachers give to the future of our country, we are failing our youth and our future.

A reasonable agreement will eventually be reached, but the problem in understanding what is most important in our lives should be there for all of us to see.

Edward A. Sussman, Fountain Valley

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.