Bargaining team to Beutner: "It's time to set the record straight"

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Bargaining Team

UTLA had our first mediation session with LAUSD today. No agreement was reached, and another mediation session has been scheduled for October 3. The UTLA Bargaining Team sent the letter below to Austin Beutner today to call him out for spreading disinformation and for making a disingenuous contract offer that does nothing to address the deep issues that face our schools.

 

Mr. Beutner,

 

The UTLA Bargaining Team is representative of our entire membership, and we are proud to fight on behalf of our 33,000 members represented by this contract, and on behalf of our students and communities.

 

Today, we write to you as we conclude the first day of mediation. Because of the terms of mediation agreed to by both sides, we cannot give details of what happened. The UTLA bargaining team remains dedicated to the mediation process.

 

It is disheartening that you do not have the same dedication and respect for this process, your own employees, or even the public.

 

You have stalled mediation for 56 days, tried to cut backroom deals, threatened teachers with retaliation, kicked us out of so-called community events, booked RSVP-only meet-and-greets, refused to answer questions from the public, bargained in the media, hid information from the public and spread damaging lies.

 

It’s time to set the record straight.

 

You said there will be a strike on October 3. While we did have an historic 98% strike authorization vote recently, we will not be going on strike next week. We respect the bargaining process and the timeline.

 

With this lie, you have tried to create chaos among the entire LAUSD community, from educators to parents, to the media as well as the City of Los Angeles.

 

And on Tuesday, you sent UTLA a bargaining proposal but not before sending it to the LA Times opinion pages. It is a shallow, disingenuous “offer” that does nothing to address the deep issues that face our schools.

 

Your proposal on class size is unacceptable and makes no improvements for 90% of our schools. You made no movement on Section 1.5 of our contract, which allows the district to increase class size at any time, rendering your proposal useless.

 

You want to make the public believe that this is all about our salary. This simply isn’t true. Our vision for saving this school district resides in our contract demands, which were developed over months with input from our members, students, parents and the community. Parents and community members also joined us at the bargaining table.

 

We call on you to reinvest in our schools. That means ending the privatization drain which takes $600 million away from our public schools annually and allocating the hundreds of millions of dollars in unused textbook and materials funds back into the classroom. That means using the $1.86 billion in reserves to fund the building blocks of healthy schools that are represented in our bargaining proposals: lower class sizes, less testing, support for special education, charter accountability, fair pay for educators, equal rights for Early Ed and Adult Ed teachers, and more, much-needed counselors, nurses, psychologists, and teacher librarians.

 

Mr. Beutner, you have proven that you are unqualified, untrustworthy and unavailable so until you treat LAUSD educators and the students and communities we serve as a top priority and not as a PR crisis to manage, we will continue to hold you accountable in our ongoing fight for the Schools LA Students Deserve.

 

Today in mediation, no agreement was reached. We go back to mediation October 3 and we expect the district to show up and meet our demands. 

 

Sincerely,

 

The UTLA Bargaining Team

 

Arlene Inouye, Daniel Barnhart, Gloria Martinez, Elgin Scott, Cynthia Matthews, Tomás Flores, Julie Van Winkle, Erika Jones, Adrian Tamayo, Victoria Casas, Javi Romo, Matthew Kogan, Jeff Good, Grace Regullano