September 19, 2019News
UTLA is moving forward with a unique process to help shape the U.S. presidential race by engaging members over the next eight weeks and conducting an advisory vote of chapter leaders to consider endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party primary. After that up-or-down advisory vote at the November 13 area meetings, the UTLA House will make the final decision on endorsement.
The process was approved by both the UTLA Board and the UTLA House. See the motion language here. The 35-1 vote of the UTLA Board on September 11 and the 135-46 vote of the House on September 18 indicate that the broad leadership of UTLA currently believes that Sanders is the candidate to consider endorsing. The Board and House votes also indicate that they want broad member and chapter leader involvement in making a decision regarding endorsement.
“Sanders is shaping up to be the candidate with the best chance not just to win the White House, but to actually change the conditions of massive inequality and underfunding of public education,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl says. “The process approved by our Board and House makes clear our broad union leaders’ recognition of Sanders’ unique platform while also going to our most important resource—our members and chapter leaders—for dialogue and advice before making this important decision.”
“Bernie Sanders has the only campaign that isn’t about an individual—it’s about a broad movement, just like our strike was,” UTLA/NEA Vice President Cecily Myart-Cruz says. “Our strike showed the nation what a fighting union looks like, and now we use that power to affect change on the national level by considering support for a candidate who cares about the things we care about.”
“Bernie is the only candidate with a concrete, progressive K-12 educational plan, including a massive infusion of funding and a moratorium on charters,” UTLA Elementary Vice President Gloria Martinez says. “Bernie’s anti-privatization stance on education and healthcare addresses the needs of our students and the long-term viability of our healthcare and healthcare for all.”
Bernie has stood with UTLA
Bernie Sanders endorsed our 2017 candidates in the LAUSD School Board elections and was the first major U.S. politician to publicly support our 2019 strike. He pushed for donations to our strike fund, leading to a cascade of influential support and more than $100,000 in donations. He is committed to supporting the Schools and Communities First Initiative, which would raise $11 billion in funding for California schools and social services. Bernie spoke at our 2019 Leadership Conference and said that UTLA is leading the political revolution. In the days after this speech, LAUSD employees ranked among his top 10 donors nationally, and teachers are the No. 1 profession of his donors.
Bernie has the strongest K-12 educational plan
His Thurgood Marshall Plan for Education would:
- Triple Title 1 funding and fully fund IDEA at 10% above what was promised 40 years ago (for a total of at least 50% of the cost of special education).
- Increase teacher pay to a minimum starting salary of $60,000 nationwide with adjustments for cost of living and other factors.
- Ban for-profit charters and support the moratorium on public funds for charter school expansion until a national audit has been completed to determine the impact of charter growth in each state.
- Implement accountability measures for charter schools.
- Increase public school funding overall, including $5 billion in funding for sustainable community schools.
Bernie can win
To unseat Trump, the Democratic candidate will have to perform well in key swing states and demographics. Click here for an analysis of why Bernie checks off those boxes.
Bernie’s Medicare for All plan could strengthen our LAUSD healthcare
Sanders is leading the charge for the U.S. to join other industrialized nations and guarantee healthcare to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare for All, single-payer program.
Medicare for All will resolve the biggest single issue we face in bargaining every few years— attempts by LAUSD to cut our healthcare in the name of cost savings and attempts by privatizers to pit the public against us simply because we have healthcare. Our current coverage would stay the same or improve, while freeing a substantial portion of the money LAUSD spends on healthcare to be used for pay raises, smaller class sizes, more staffing, and other improvements.
Bernie is a progressive leader across the board
Sanders’ commitment to addressing the critical issues facing our students and families every day parallels our vision for supporting the community. His plan includes a moratorium on deportations, pay equity for women, the most ambitious climate plan among the candidates, LGBTQ rights, student debt cancellation, housing rights, and more.
The member engagement process approved by the House and Board is unique to how UTLA has done political endorsements in the past, and will help us capitalize on the power we built during our strike and seize the opportunity to impact the national conversation on public education.