August 30, 2021News
UTLA is in bargaining with the Los Angeles Unified School District on more robust learning options for students who must quarantine as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to move through our communities. There have been two bargaining sessions between UTLA and LAUSD so far.
UTLA has presented progressive proposals that include a fair pay raise for educators, strengthened quarantine protocols to protect our most vulnerable students, and a Continuity of Learning plan that includes educator discretion and flexibility for families whose children need to quarantine.
Today, in an act of bad faith bargaining, LAUSD Interim Superintendent Megan Reilly instructed principals to unilaterally implement the district’s Continuity of Learning proposal — without having reached a bargaining agreement as required by law and without it being vetted by parents and educators. UTLA will be filing an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board.
The UTLA Bargaining Team developed a counter proposal, creating options for connecting with quarantining students and supporting their continued learning.
“Our bargaining team is bringing proposals to the table with educators and LAUSD families in mind,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said. “Families who have had their lives upended by their child having to quarantine do not need a cookie-cutter mandate — they need understanding, flexibility, and options. One-size-fits-all solutions do not work in this prolonged public health crisis.”
Options in UTLA’s proposals include using a classroom camera for students to Zoom in during in-person instruction or meeting with quarantined students during scheduled office hours. The office hours would allow for small groups of students to meet in a more direct way with their instructor and would offer students and families flexibility to access instruction during times that fit their schedule.
“Collective bargaining and open lines of communication have been critical to saving lives and implementing key safety mandates during this pandemic,” UTLA Bargaining Chair Arlene Inouye says. “Ignoring the need for ongoing collaboration at this sensitive time is irresponsible.”
UTLA also announced support for a vaccine mandate for eligible students, in the wake of the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. This aligns with UTLA support for the educator vaccine mandate implemented by LAUSD and will keep our schools safer as well as positively contributing to the higher community vaccination rates needed to reverse the surge in infections.
Outside of bargaining, UTLA continues to call on the district to actively encourage and facilitate greater access to vaccination for parents, eligible students, and the communities we serve. The district and LA County Department of Health must work together to increase outreach, vaccination clinics, and testing in communities with low vaccination rates and high transmission rates.