Are Los Angeles Teachers Next?
September 25, 2018 / Samantha Winslow
Who’s next to join the strike wave? The nation’s second-largest teachers local, in Los Angeles, kicked off the school year with a strike authorization vote. With 81 percent of teachers voting, 98 percent backed a strike if mediation fails this fall. After working hard to get out the vote across L.A.’s 900 schools and 35,000 members, this landslide result was “the best feeling ever,” said teacher and union rep Karla Griego. For 18 months, bargaining has gone nowhere. “There’s a broad sense that our district is in decline, is headed in the wrong direction,” said United Teachers Los Angeles Vice President Daniel Barnhart. “If we don’t all step up and do something about it, things are going to get worse.”
L.A. teachers are seeking a 6.5 percent pay increase, but also much more. Their demands include lowering class sizes, slowing the growth of charter schools, stopping the humiliating random searches of students by school counselors with metal detectors, and adding more nurses and counselors in high-poverty schools. Seventy-six percent of Los Angeles public school students live in poverty; 25 percent are English language learners.
The school board is led by Superintendent Austin Beutner, a recently appointed investment banker with no education experience. The board has offered a 2 percent raise plus a bonus—and is refusing to bargain over the union’s broader platform of issues. (Read More)