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Rep. Schiff demands end to 'poverty wages' for LA school workers on strike


Rep. Adam Schiff offered his support to tens of thousands of service workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District who have walked off the job, saying they should not be earning "poverty" wages.

LAUSD shut down all of its schools Tuesday due to the strike as about 30,000 workers represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 99 -- including cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants and others -- started picketing at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

L.A. teachers have joined the strike in solidarity.

Schiff spoke at a rally in Koreatown alongside union officials Tuesday and said the workers should be paid a "decent wage."

Los Angeles Unified schools were closed Tuesday as a union represeting thousands of bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other employees started a three-day strike.

"The median income of our bus drivers and our cafeteria workers and our school aides is $25,000 a year," he said. "Who can live on $25,000 a year? Those are poverty wages."

The congressman said the workers' low wages puts them at risk of homelessness.

"It cost about $1,700 to rent a one-bedroom apartment," Schiff said. "That means for the people that we're talking about, they have to spend 85% of their income just to keep a roof over their heads."

As of Tuesday morning, there were no publicly announced plans for any negotiating sessions between the district and union, likely meaning the strike will continue for the anticipated three days.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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