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Los Angeles Unified and Labor Partners Agree to Extend Health Benefits Agreement Through 2021 (01-18-21)

For Immediate Release                                             January 18, 2021
Contact: Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                             


Los Angeles Unified and Labor Partners Agree to Extend
Health Benefits Agreement Through 2021
 

  • Maintains health care coverage for employees during the pandemic
  • Provides savings of $225 million which will be invested in school classrooms
  • Builds on the progress made in 2019 which reduced long-term health care liabilities by $6 billion
  • Provides the opportunity for Los Angeles Unified and labor partners to negotiate on total compensation

 

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 18, 2021) – Superintendent Austin Beutner announced today that Los Angeles Unified has reached an agreement with all of its labor partners, which together represent more than 75,000 employees who work in schools, to extend the existing health benefits agreement until the end of the year. This agreement caps District costs at the same level they’ve been since 2017 and provides additional savings of $225 million which will be invested in school classrooms. 

This agreement builds on the progress made since 2018 to reduce long-term liabilities for employee health care by more than $6 billion. 

“During this crisis we want to keep our employees safe and make sure they have access to great health care,” Superintendent Beutner said. “We are one of the largest employers in the state and we hope this action will encourage other employers, large and small, to do the right thing for their employees. The savings we are realizing will go directly to help students learn.” 

As part of the extension, the District will have the opportunity to bargain with its labor partners on total compensation. Previous agreements provided for separate negotiations on wages and health benefits.

“No one says it better than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘The time is always right to do what is right,’” Associated Administrators of Los Angeles President Juan Flecha said. “Labor partners, the yeoman’s efforts of the Health Benefits Committee and Superintendent Beutner came together to extend the health care Memorandum of Understanding through December 31, 2021. The Associated Administrators of Los Angeles looks forward to continuing the winning formula of leveraging health care dollars to provide the best possible healthcare to our active members and retirees, returning savings achieved by the HBC to the District’s general fund, while addressing other post-employment benefits. In doing so, we can take care of our health to better serve our students and school communities.”

 

“During these extraordinary times it is important that employees know that their health and safety is the No. 1 priority,” California School Employees Association Chapter 500 President Letetsia Fox said.

“The members of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council working at Los Angeles Unified are very grateful to have reached an agreement on health care,” Representative Chris Hannan said. “The health care provided by the District protects the skilled-trades members as they prepare and maintain schools for the return of students.”

“We are pleased we could come together with Los Angeles Unified during this trying time of the coronavirus pandemic to renew our health benefits for another year,” Los Angeles School Police Management Association President Robert Taylor said. “It is critical during this time that we keep our members with the same level of coverage and access to health care. Equally important is our commitment to keeping all our members employed so that they retain the much-needed benefits.

“It is amazing what unions can accomplish in a short amount of time when they work together,” Los Angeles School Police Officers Association President Gil Gamez said.

“This agreement recognizes that the safety of Los Angeles Unified students and schools is, more than ever, connected to the health and safety of the dedicated education workers who help our students learn,” Service Employees International Union Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said. “The extension of benefits especially recognizes the heroic efforts of food service workers, custodians, truck drivers and other front-line essential workers who have continued to provide meals and maintain and disinfect schools even as the pandemic has shut down campuses. We look forward to continuing to work with Los Angeles Unified to ensure that plans for recovery and the safe reopening of schools include equitable access to health care for all who serve our school communities.”

“In these difficult times it is exceptional how the Health Benefits Committee and the District have pulled together to extend the Health Benefits agreement,” Teamsters Local 572 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Middleton said. “Not only does this reflect the good work of the Health Benefits Committee but this extension continues benefit coverage for our members and employees during these uncertain times. We need to continue this kind of cooperation and work together to keep everyone safe and get our children back to school.”

“It is important, with health care more critical than ever during this pandemic, that employees are assured of continued coverage, with no changes to their plans,” United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz said.

The agreement is subject to ratification by the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education.

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