Contrary to reports, UTLA isn't refusing to bargain with district

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LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner

Today, Superintendent Austin Beutner took to the media, the U.S. mail, and to KPCC’s Airtalk, to once again misinform the public about the state of bargaining between UTLA and LAUSD. 
To clarify his misinformation — UTLA has not received a bargaining proposal from LAUSD since October 30, and UTLA is not refusing to bargain.

Respect for our members and students, and respect for the legal bargaining process, means sending clear, detailed, written proposals directly to the formal bargaining representatives — in UTLA’s case, our bargaining team, including educators, officers, and staff, all expert and trained in bargaining and educational issues. 
It does not mean unlawfully sending proposals to the LA Times before sending to the formal bargaining representatives as Beutner did on September 25.  It does not mean unlawfully making verbal statements to the media about supposed offers, as Beutner did on December 18. It does not mean unlawfully circumventing the formal bargaining representatives and writing a letter directly to UTLA members as Beutner has now done, as our members have received a letter at home directly from Beutner dated December 28.

These are not proposals. 

Ironically, Beutner’s latest lies in the December 28 US-mailed letter to all of our members come on the heels of what we thought might be progress on getting back into talks.  On December 28, LAUSD bargaining representatives, appropriately, sent an email to the UTLA bargaining co-chairs conveying district perspectives on the Fact-finding report and the parties’ positions, requesting a meeting to bargain, and asking for a response to the letter by December 31. The UTLA bargaining co-chairs responded to that email on December 31, appreciating the outreach, challenging the district’s ongoing mischaracterization of the Fact-finding report, including omission of the fact that both the Fact-finding neutral and the UTLA-appointed panelist recommended the elimination of Article XVIII, Section 1.5 from the contract, and, finally, asking for an LAUSD proposal as quickly as possible so that we might use it as a way to engage in talks. 
As of today, LAUSD has not provided a new bargaining proposal in response to our request and has yet to agree to the elimination of Section 1.5, which allows the district to unilaterally increase class size.

Beutner has also lied in today’s LAUSD statement in asserting that UTLA refuses to bargain.  UTLA has stated many times that we are open to engage in further talks, and we hoped that the December 28 / December 31 email correspondence between bargaining representatives would lead to that.  We have also stated repeatedly that in order for additional talks to be fruitful, Beutner should engage our full package of proposals rather than continue to dismiss many items. Moreover, Beutner should show that he will substantially use the $1.9 billion in unrestricted reserves immediately on classroom needs.

“Austin Beutner’s tactics of unlawfully misinforming and bargaining in the media is meant to instill fear and confusion, and indicates a lack of understanding of bargaining and, frankly, we should expect more from the Superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school district,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “Rather than formally communicate with the union that represents all LAUSD teachers, Beutner once again tries to spin the narrative to make it seem UTLA is unreasonable.”

UTLA awaits a formal bargaining proposal from LAUSD, in response to the December 28/December 31 email stream, sent to our formal bargaining representatives in accordance with the law, and we hope that this forms the basis for engaging in further talks as soon as possible.