August 3, 2018Press Release
UTLA members prepare for a strike authorization vote
Although LAUSD claims otherwise, the California Public Employees Relations Board today confirmed what UTLA declared two weeks ago – that negotiations between UTLA and LAUSD are in a deadlock, and a state mediator has been appointed. UTLA is also preparing to conduct a strike authorization vote Aug. 23-30.
“PERB’s decision sides with UTLA in our belief we are at impasse,” said Arlene Inouye, Chair of the UTLA Bargaining Team. “While we move forward with a state mediator, and continue to try to reach an agreement with the district — one that respects students, educators and the community — we also must mobilize our members for a strike, if one becomes necessary.”
UTLA’s bargaining team has negotiated for more than 16 months. During that time, UTLA has done informational leafleting, school site picketing, rallies at the School Board, coalition actions with parents, faculty meeting boycotts, regional rallies, delegations to elected officials and a 12,000-member demonstration in downtown LA on May 24.
“Led by Supt. Austin Beutner, the district is trying to disparage UTLA members, saying we are being unreasonable in our contract demands. We want to reprioritize LAUSD’s $1.7 billion in unrestricted reserves back into the classroom. Those funds can go a long way to give our educators a fair wage, lower class sizes and hire more nurses, counselors and librarians,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “The district has chosen a path of austerity and cuts, and we are fighting to reinvest and save public education. Enough is enough.”
Strike authorization vote results are expected Aug. 31. When UTLA declared impasse earlier this month, LAUSD officials said they would bring significant proposals to July 24 bargaining. Instead, they brought a previously proposed 2% ongoing salary increase, an additional one-time 2% bonus and a $500 stipend for materials and supplies.
“Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. We must continue to fight for a sustainable future, yet we don’t have a partner in the very school district we are trying to save,” Caputo-Pearl said. “We have been pushing for real change, they are keeping the status quo.”
Some key deadlocked bargaining proposals:
- Class Size Matters. LAUSD gave no proposals to reduce class size. LAUSD has some of the highest class sizes in the nation, yet refuses to eliminate section 1.5 of the contract, which allows the district to ignore class size caps.
- Improve School Safety. With a student-to-counselor ratio of 945:1 in California and student-to-nurse ratio of 1,224:1, LAUSD refuses to add more school nurses, counselors, social workers, librarians and other staff; rejects greater educator input on school safety plans.
- Fund Our Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to address funding issues. California is the richest state in the nation, yet ranks 43 out of 50 in per-pupil funding.
- Support Community Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to fund Community Schools. Community schools meet the needs in the surrounding community, including wrap-around services, broadened curriculum and parent engagement.
- Less Testing & More Teaching. LAUSD gave no proposals to address overtesting. Our kids are being overtested. Their teachers should have more discretion over what and when standardized assessments are given.
- End the Privatization Drain. LAUSD gave no proposals for reasonable charter accountability and co-location measures. LAUSD refuses to address the $590 million lost to the unchecked expansion of charter schools each year.
- Click here for more info on bargaining proposals.
- Click here for President Alex Caputo-Pearl’s State of the Union speech from last week’s Leadership Conference.
UTLA, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union local, represents more than 35,000 teachers and health & human services professionals in district and charter schools in LAUSD.