LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles Unified School District employees are on strike and schools are closed. Employees represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 99, including cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians and special education assistants are demanding higher wages, among other things.
But how much do these workers make, and how does it compare to similar jobs elsewhere? Here are some numbers that might give some context.
LAUSD worker salaries
According to SEIU Local 99, the union representing the striking workers, the average annual salary for members in LAUSD is about $25,000 per year.
The union workers at LAUSD include four different units making the following, on average, per year:
On average, these workers do not work full-time hours. The union said the average hours worked by members is about five to six hours a day.
But, according to an ABC7 analysis of union documents, the typical entry-level salary is about $16.91 an hour, and the typical high-level salary is less than $23.85 an hour.
Even if these jobs were traditional 8-hour days working 52 weeks out of the year, salaries would still typically be $35,000 per year on the low end and $50,000 per year on the high end.
That’s well below the $66,750 per year that the Department of Housing and Community Development considers “low income” in LA County.
Salaries vs cost of living
Along with many things, the SEIU member salaries have not kept up with inflation.
The last permanent raise SEIU members received was a $1 per hour increase in July 2019, an increase of about 5.5% on average, according to the union.
Since then, the Consumer Price Index, an index that measures the costs of goods and services, in the Los Angeles metro area has increased 16% between July 2019 and January 2023.
LAUSD Salaries vs statewide
These wages don’t seem to be out of the norm, at least not compared to some California wage numbers.
Hourly wages for teaching assistants and food service workers are only a little over a dollar difference from the median wage for similar jobs statewide. LAUSD bus drivers make almost the same as they do typically statewide.