Apr. 26, 2012: Furlough arbitration results: Arbitrator rules in LAUSD’s favor

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April 26, 2012

LAUSD can now impose furlough days. UTLA demands that money from furlough days be used to rescind RIFs.

An arbitrator has ruled that LAUSD has not violated the 2011-12 jobs restoration agreement and the District can impose furlough days for this school year. UTLA had requested the arbitration because we believe that state funding met the level in the agreement to result in 0 furlough days. LAUSD, taking advantage of a loophole involving "deferred funds," argued during the proceedings that 5 furlough days were justified.

UTLA's case was strong: We still believe that UTLA's position was both legally and educationally correct, and our attorneys and staff presented a strong case. However, as we have learned from many recent court cases (like the Reed settlement from two years ago), courts are not always fair when teacher issues are being adjudicated.

The decision opens the door for 5 furlough days: LAUSD could now impose up to 5 furlough days on UTLA members for this school year. It is likely that the furlough days will occur at the end of the school year and include the dates on the calendar that LAUSD released in February (that calendar lists only four furlough days; LAUSD could now add an additional day for a total of five furlough days). Specific information will be sent to members as soon as it is available.

The LAUSD calendar (released in February) can be found at:
http://www.utla.net/system/files/furloughday_calendar_agmt_feb2012.pdf

Fight was worth it:  Even though we lost the arbitration, it was important that we put up a fight. Furlough days should never be accepted lightly, and UTLA will always push back, when it is warranted, to protect students from a shortened school year and employees from an economic hit.

Imposed furlough days could save jobs for next year: UTLA is demanding to meet immediately with LAUSD regarding the decision.  Five imposed furlough days for this school year equal $75 million in payroll costs, and UTLA demands that the District immediately repurpose this money and reverse pending RIF notices  (the money for five days could fund the immediate reversal of roughly 875 pink slips).

The arbitration decision comes as UTLA is in negotiations every day over alternatives to program cuts and layoffs for next year. UTLA's overriding priority is to come to a fair agreement to present to our members that rescinds RIFs and stabilizes our schools.