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Tens of thousands of US education workers launch strike

Tens of thousands of education workers in the second-largest school district in the United States, the Los Angeles Unified School District, have walked off the job to demand higher wages and staffing levels.

The three-day strike began on Tuesday with demonstrations set up by members of Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 30,000 teachers’ aides, special education assistants, bus drivers, custodians, and other support staff.

Workers joined picket lines in the early morning amid stormy weather, with some holding signs reading, “We keep schools safe, Respect Us!”

They were joined by supportive teachers who also work in the district, which counts more than 500,000 students from Los Angeles, California, and all or part of 25 other cities and nearby areas.

“We’re very understaffed,” Danielle Murray, a special education assistant, told local news station KABC-TV. “The custodial staff is a ghost crew, so the schools are dirty. They’re doing the best they can.”