LAUSD Strike Postponed, Negotiations Continue

Over 30,000 teachers in the nation’s second-largest school district are willing to walk out of their classrooms until demands are met.
Published: January 9, 2019

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) decided to postpone its organized strike against the Los Angeles Unified School District until Monday. A judge was considering putting a court-ordered delay on the strike due to the possibility of the union not giving proper notice.

Although the union believes they gave adequate notice, they feel the extra time will help avoid confusion and give those involved more time to prepare.

The LAUSD said the delay allows more time for negotiation and they hope the strike can be avoided altogether.

Over 30,000 teachers are set to go on strike until their demands are met by the school district, which is the second largest in the nation, consisting of more than 640,000 students, reports the LA Times.

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A letter written to the school district superintendent by 15 award-winning teachers in L.A., outlines what the union is asking for and explains their plan for a strike, reports the Washington Post.

Here are some their demands:

  • Decrease in class sizes to allow each student to receive the attention they deserve
  • A full-time nurse, librarian and counselor at each school
  • Regulate testing, as over-testing does not promote wellbeing for students
  • Regulate charter school growth with reasonable accountability and guidelines

It is about more than just higher pay for these teachers, but the future of public education in their school district, where most students are poor and many do not speak English.

A discussion on Monday to avoid a walkout was unsuccessful. The school district has accused the union of ignoring the serious financial troubles that face L.A. schools as well as refusing to listen to legitimate counter proposals.

So far, the district has offered a six percent raise spread over the first two years of a three-year contract. The union, however, wants a 6.5 percent raise that goes into effect all at once and a year sooner.

Teachers in the union say they are working at least eight hours a day and then taking calls from parents, grading papers and writing reports after the school day is over.

The district has added $75 million, on top of its already proposed $30 million, to reduce class sizes and hire new staff.

The district says the extra money would be put toward hiring a librarian at every middle school and one additional academic counselor for every high school. More than 700 teaching positions would be added, but with the district being so large, the union does not believe it will be enough.

Class sizes in grades four to six would drop from 36 to 35 and high school classes would drop from 42 to about 39, according to the district.

In an effort to put the issues they thought most important first, the union dropped their demand to have more control over standardized tests and budget decisions.

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