A new legislative session is upon us in California, so, we spend some time walking through just a few of the more progressive bills folks will be pushing. Joining me to discuss is Eric Morrison-Smith, the Executive Director for the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, a national network of community and advocacy organizations coming together to advance race and gender justice by transforming policies that are failing boys and men of color, their families and communities.
Then, we go to Los Angeles, where school staff are striking and schools are shut down. The Service Employees International Union, Local 99, which represents about 30,000 teachers’ aides, special education assistants, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, special education assistants and other support staff, walked out amid stalled contract talks on Tuesday, March 21st, for a 3-day strike. SEIU Local 99 members voted overwhelmingly (96% in favor) to authorize a strike last month. During the strike vote and contract bargaining process, the district subjected workers to surveillance, intimidation, and harassment. LA’s teachers’ union has joined the labor action, refusing to cross their colleagues’ picket line, essentially leaving the second-largest school district in the US closed for business until the strike is over. We’re joined by Bryant Odega, a substitute teacher at the HArts academy, housed in Narbonne High School – a school in the LA Unified School District. Bryant is a member of the LA teachers’ union (United Teachers of LA or UTLA). He joins us from the picket line outside his workplace.
Staying on theme, we move back to Oakland, where contract negotiations between the teachers union and the district went from a double-digit raise down to a 3.5% raise, and even that low number’s funding would come from cuts to other staff, like SEIU and AFSCME classified staff who do things like special ed support, and food prep. On Friday, March 24th, school workers and teachers are planning a walkout as a wildcat strike action. We’re joined by one of the teachers impacted – Marika Iyer is an English and Ethnic Studies Teacher at Oakland High School.
Our Resistance in Residence Artist this week is community organizer, youth development professional, and installation artist Mizan Alkebulan-Abakah.
Learn more about Mizan at her website: https://www.spearitwurx.com/
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