November 25, 2017Statement
We write this statement due to unfortunate accusations being posted on social media that we believe have no factual basis.
As an organization on the forefront of the fight against racism and sexism, and building the movement for social justice, UTLA honors women across the country who have come forward against sexual harassment and abuse.
We, as women of color elected to lead UTLA, stand with our sisters in this fight.
We are proud that, since 2014, through the work of thousands of members and our staff, and our work as officers, UTLA has re-organized itself, pulled itself off the edge of financial insolvency, and become a more professional organization. With a substantial staff and leaders across the city, when UTLA receives workplace or member complaints, they are investigated and addressed. In the last three years, there have been a handful of incident reports filed at UTLA. There have been no accusations of sexual harassment. All incident reports have been, or are in the process of being, investigated.
We are confident in our internal investigation processes and in the conclusions reached in prior investigations. That said, at this moment when women across the country are coming forward, and organizations across the country are being introspective about their own processes, we are taking the opportunity to do the same. To this end, a neutral, independent workplace investigator will immediately initiate a review of recent claims of inappropriate conduct and review results of completed investigations to date. The investigator will speak with witnesses, review all relevant evidence, and report on findings, as well as give recommendations on workplace and internal process issues going forward.
This takes place within a context. Since 2014, UTLA has been immersed in a substantial organizational change – in the labor movement, some refer to it as a transformation from “business unionism” to “social movement unionism.” In that time, UTLA has gone from not having had a contract for over 3 years to attaining a contract in 2015 and a re-opener in 2016 with substantial victories for students and educators; from having 3,300 unresolved grievances among its members to 1,100 grievances; from having no coordinated engagement with parents and community to helping to form the Reclaim Our Schools LA coalition; from having many schools without union representatives to enforce our contract to having over 800 chapter chairs in place across the city; from not projecting a coherent vision regarding what our schools and families need to bringing community schools, immigrant rights, affordable housing, state per-pupil funding, and other Common Good proposals to the bargaining table; and much more.
UTLA members have overwhelmingly supported this change. Contracts were ratified with over 90% member support in both 2015 and 2016, a dues increase and organizational restructuring initiative was approved with 82% member support in 2016, and we, with our leadership team, were re-elected by large margins in 2017.
There has been some internal political opposition. Organizational change projects require union member leaders and union staff to operate in different ways than in the past, and change can be difficult for some. Unfortunately, opponents of the change have targeted some leaders and staff with what we believe are accusations with no factual basis. The elected officers wrote a letter to staff and the board of directors asking for this to stop. That letter is attached below.
We are proud to lead UTLA, are steadfastly committed to racial, gender, and social justice internally and externally, and are honored to continue the fight for the Schools LA Students Deserve.
Cecily Myart-Cruz, UTLA Vice President, National Education Association
Gloria Martinez, UTLA Vice President of Elementary Schools
Arlene Inouye, UTLA Secretary
Supporting document for further review:
Letter from UTLA officers, October 27, 2017Download
*For media inquiries,
please call Anna Bakalis,
UTLA Director of Communications