August 27, 2018Press Release
UTLA Files ULP Charge Against LAUSD for Unlawful Interference with Strike Vote
Today, UTLA filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against LAUSD for unlawful interference with the union’s strike authorization vote and for failure to provide key public information and financial documents as they relate to bargaining. Here are key elements of the ULP:
Unlawful retaliation and interference with Union’s strike authorization vote: By expediting the release of information from the UTLA President’s personnel file from 2014, based on a unwarranted retaliatory effort against UTLA under then-Superintendent John Deasy, LAUSD is attempting to distract the public and unlawfully influence UTLA’s strike authorization vote. From the ULP: “The District has no legitimate basis for its decision to accelerate its internal PRA request timelines or to refuse to disclose the document which would be the subject of such a request; and the only basis for the District’s conduct is retaliation for the Union’s decision to hold a strike vote or President Caputo-Pearl’s protected right activity as an elected Union officer.”
Unlawful delay in responding to UTLA’s information requests: The district has delayed and refuses to respond to requests to provide basic financial documentation. From the ULP: “The District repeatedly has refused to respond to union information requests, in particular when those requests demand that the District provide evidence to back up its unsupported assertions at the bargaining table and in public that the District is unable to afford UTLA proposals.”
UTLA’s mobilization of our members is legally protected, and a vote to authorize a strike fits well within our union rights. Given the district’s unlawful refusal to respond to basic information requests, Supt. Beutner’s offer to UTLA for a full audit of their financial books came as a surprise last week. However, UTLA accepts his offer. We look forward to this happening and ask for a date we can begin the audit.
The same day UTLA filed these ULP charges against the district, the sudden closure of a charter school took the media spotlight.
The iPUC charter school — part of a chain of charter schools founded by disgraced former school board member Ref Rodriguez — abruptly closed Friday morning, displacing 114 students. They had just begun the school year only to have their school community dissolve literally overnight.
“If Beutner and the District really put ‘kids first,’ they would have sent a crisis team and provided these parents with an immediate remedy. Instead, they ignored it, hoping this story would go away in one news cycle,” said Arlene Inouye, chair of the UTLA bargaining team. “This speaks to the need for accountability and regulation of charter schools.”
The charter board decision to close the school was made Thursday night without parent input, and the school was closed the following morning. As parents thought they would be dropping off their students, instead they spoke angrily to multiple news outlets. The District remained silent.
UTLA has common-sense bargaining proposals on charter school accountability and regulation, but the district refuses to bargain these issues.
The district continues to push out misinformation regarding the strike vote authorization, calling it an “adult versus adult” issue. In reality, these educators are making a bold stand to fight for their students, and are considering a strike if one becomes necessary to win improvements to learning conditions such as lower class size and more nurses, counselors and librarians.
Additionally, Beutner continues to claim he is willing to meet anytime – but those meetings have been proposed as back-room negotiations. UTLA demands an open and neutral mediation process.
UTLA has been demanding to go to mediation for weeks, but LAUSD has refused to meet until Sept. 27. A state mediator was appointed on August 2 and immediately offered mediation dates in mid-late August and early September. We believe a state mediator can help move the parties toward an agreement and there is no reason for any delay. Civic leaders should be pressuring the district to follow the law and go into mediation immediately.