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20,000 L.A. Unified Staff OK Furloughs

About 20,000 employees in the Los Angeles Unified School District have agreed to four unpaid furlough days to help close a huge budget gap.

Two units of the Service Employees International Union Local 99 representing cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other employees recently approved the measure by a combined vote of 953 to 234, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The members will take one furlough day per month from February through May to save about $7.7 million.

“By each of us taking on a bit of hardship it is our goal to prevent more layoffs in the future and ensure that students continue to receive the services they need to learn,” said Edward Reed, Local 99’s president, in the Times.

Earlier this month, officials in the Los Angeles district asked union members to accept the furlough days and a future 12 percent pay cut to offset a nearly $60 million budget deficit this year and a $480 million shortfall next year.  The union has not yet voted on the pay cut, which must be negotiated.

Earlier this year, about 1,100 bus drivers who are also represented by SEIU Local 99 agreed to six unpaid days off this fiscal year.