More than 700 school site leaders commit to fight for a fair contract
Chapter chairs feel inspired by national teacher movements
One day after UTLA declared impasse in bargaining, hundreds of chapter leaders mobilized in downtown LA at our “All in for Respect” conference to plan escalating actions in our fight for a fair contract.
With the district not moving remotely in the right direction on pay, class size, increased staffing, overtesting, and other critical issues, chapter chairs tightened plans to hit the ground running when the school year starts, including holding critical chapter meetings on August 13 and an all-member strike vote beginning August 23.
The reality that we are not alone in our struggle was driven home by the parents, students, community members, and elected officials who joined us over the weekend. Chapter chairs took inspiration from teacher leaders in Puerto Rico and Arizona, who shared stories behind their successful strikes and the the concrete victories they won by hitting the picket lines.
Chapter chairs at the conference deepened the commitment to get schools strike ready, recognizing that we don’t want to strike but being ready to walk is our best shot at winning a contract agreement that respects educators and students and addresses the sustainability of our school district.
WATCH SPEAKER & PANEL VIDEOS
- State of the Union address: Alex Caputo-Pearl
- Voices from the Picket Line: Joe Thomas, Arizona Education Association President & Mercedes Martinez, Puerto Rican Teachers Federation President
- Building Student & Parent Power Panel
- Christabel Ukomado, Student leader
Saturday Panel: Voices from the Picket Line
Above, from left to right, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl, Mercedes Martinez, Puerto Rican Teachers Federation President, Joe Thomas, Arizona Education Association President and UTLA Secretary Arlene Inouye.
2017 UTLA Leadership Conference Recap
July 28, 2017 — In his Friday night speech, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl blasted the dismal level of school funding and introduced a bold concept—20 by 20—to fund LA schools at $20,000 per pupil by the year 2020.
“If public education is to survive and thrive in Los Angeles, it is time for us to call the question on why our schools are being starved,” Caputo-Pearl said. “Jumping from $11,000 to $20,000 is aggressive, but it is far from crazy. Several other states, far poorer than California, are already in the $20,000 per student range.”
- Keron Blair, Executive Director, AROS
- Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA
- Gervaise Clay & Jackson Potter, CTU
During the conference, core training covered how to organize effective worksite structures to enforce the contract, defend members’ rights, and build a successful contract campaign. UTLA is in bargaining with a comprehensive package of proposals for the Schools LA Students Deserve on critical issues such as competitive pay, class size, staffing, testing, school climate and student discipline, and enhanced professional rights.
At the PACE reception on Saturday night, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, one of the leaders of the Trump resistance in D.C., shared a little of her fire, and educators talked with Tony Thurmond, the Assemblyman taking on a billionaire-funded candidate in the state superintendent race in 2018.
During general sessions, site leaders heard from parents, students, and critical community partners, including CHIRLA, Reclaim Our Schools LA, the California Alliance for Community Schools, and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. While the challenges we face are big, we have local, state, and national allies fighting with us. In an energetic conference-closing speech, Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Executive Director Keron Blair spoke about the righteousness of our struggle.
“They starve our schools, call them failing, and then blame teachers and say that private interests are the way forward,” Blair said. “We didn’t pick this fight but we're ready to fight, and when you fight for public education, you are fighting for kids to get a fair shot and that is worth everything.”
Year In Review Video
2017 Leadership Conference Sponsors
- NTA Mangement
- Bush, Gottlieb
- First Financial Credit Union - www.ffcu.org
- Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein
- Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad, www.trygstadlaw.com
- California Casualty Auto and Home Insurance - www.calcas.com
- California Credit Union - www.ccu.org
- First Financial Credit Union - www.ffcu.org
- Colonial Life
- Pacific Educators - www.peinsurance.com
- Specialists in Long-Term Care - www.siltc.com/utla
- The Core Group