UPDATE: Jan. 14, 2019: With no agreement, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) members went on strike in the rain Monday against the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Over the weekend, we’ve heard nothing else from the district,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said Sunday at an afternoon press conference.
- United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) on Friday rejected the Los Angeles Unified School District’s latest contract offer and plans to proceed with a strike on Monday. “It’s very clear that the only thing that may move Austin Beutner is a strike,“ UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said about the superintendent.
- The district’s revised offer, based on projected funding increases in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget announced Thursday, includes more reductions in class sizes, an increase in “nursing services” and librarians, and an additional counselor for every comprehensive high school. But the union argues that the proposed contract would still allow the district to override class size caps.
- “We are extremely disappointed that UTLA has rejected Los Angeles Unified’s revised offer without proposing any counter offer,” the district’s statement said. “A strike will harm the students, families and communities we serve, and we have a responsibility to resolve the situation without a strike.”
In his Friday press conference, the superintendent characterized the union as unwilling to budge on its demands, which he said have been “unchanged since April 2017,” and he continued to maintain that the reserve funds that the union argues are available are already being used to cover the hiring of additional educators. “We can only spend it once, not twice, not three times,” he said.
He has also called on Gov. Newsom to intervene. “We need his help to resolve this,” he said. “Keep us in a room, lock the door and throw away the key if he has to.”
Caputo-Pearl, meanwhile, has accused the superintendent of “bad-faith bargaining” by not attending scheduled negotiating sessions. Meanwhile, support for UTLA was coming from organizations throughout the metro area and from other labor unions across the country. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), of which UTLA is an affiliate, was encouraging all AFT members to wear red on Monday to show their support, continuing the #RedforEd demonstrations of last year’s teacher walkouts.