(KTLA) – Despite last-minute negotiations that went into the evening Monday, the Los Angeles Unified School District was unable to come to an agreement with the union representing thousands of its employees to avert a work stoppage.
On Tuesday morning, the LAUSD strike began, shutting down hundreds of schools and creating hardships for hundreds of thousands of parents.
Demonstrators could be seen picketing under the rain as early as 5:30 a.m. in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Van Nuys, video showed.
The strike had been in the works for several weeks, and union representatives identified Tuesday as the first day of what is tentatively planned to be a three-day stoppage.
The strike includes the support of as many as 60,000 employees of the school district who are members of both the Local 99 of Service Employees International Union and United Teachers Los Angeles.
The unions represent both educators and school district employees, including bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and teaching aids.
At the center of the dispute is Local 99 union demands for improved wages.
“The union is asking for a 30% wage increase plus a $2 per hour additional raise for the lowest-paid workers,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times said most of the Local 99 workers make an average of $25,000, with many working part-time.
The teachers union is not directly involved in the wage dispute, but its union leaders said it would honor the stoppage and stand with fellow school district employees in solidarity, refusing to cross picket lines.
Los Angeles Unified is the second-largest school district in the nation, and it’s estimated that more than 500,000 students are expected to be affected by the strike.
The closure of schools will likely leave many parents scrambling to make arrangements for their children.
The school district has released a list of resources for families during the three-day strike, including information about student supervision and meal pickups. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said some city parks and recreation centers would be opened to serve as after-school program centers.
The Los Angeles Zoo is also offering free admission and a “Community Safari Day” for elementary students affected by the shutdown.