Los Angeles | Parents Stuck Between LAUSD and Teachers Union as Strike Looms

By Debra Tash

The  L.A. Unified Unified School District, the largest public school district in the nation in terms of the number of students, is on course for a head on collision with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).  From LA School Report: “As L.A. Unified and its teachers union ratchet up preparations for what is increasingly looking like the first teacher strike in 30 years, district parents are torn — and frustrated that the two sides can’t negotiate a solution.”

The strike, which seems likely, will hit in January with the walk out of the District’s 30,000 teachers.  The strike could close 1,100 schools and affect 480,000 students.

UTLA is demanding higher teacher salaries and smaller class size, less testing and more teaching, nurses, librarians and psychologists back on staff full time, all of which the District leaders claim will bankrupt L.A Unified.

A demonstration is planned for this Saturday. Participants will walk from City Hall to the District headquarters on South Beaudry Ave. to show that they have the numbers and the support for the strike.

Not every teacher belongs to the Union since the Janus decision last year came down from the Supreme Court.  It sided with government workers who are no longer compelled to pay mandatory dues to public sector unions.  Some teachers have opted to join other groups for representation such as Christian Educators Association International – CEAI and  California Teachers Empowerment Network (CTEN) which offers resources to educators as opposed to representing them. CTEN is helmed by Larry Sand, a columnist and retired teacher. It is uncertain if any of the teachers not affiliated with UTLA would cross the picket line in January.  Shunning is a practice that would isolate a teacher by coworkers. It is a retaliatory measure aimed to punish those who attempt to break the strike. 

The Union has been vocal at recent school board meetings, even to the point of shutting them down.

There are parents who agree with the Union’s goals and hope to avert the strike.  A petition of support for the teachers has been started.

In the meantime, as the parties to the dispute remain at odds the District’s is preparing the parents. From LA School Report: “L.A. Unified, meanwhile, has distributed at least 115,000 copies of a parents guide called “Preparing for a Potential Strike.” It emphasizes that schools would remain open under the supervision of district staff and encourages parents to volunteer.”

The 1989 strike lasted for nine days.  Schools stayed open but over half of the 640,000 students skipped classes. It is hard to say if schools will remain open this round. The new year may bring little solace to Los Angeles parents and their children as they get squeezed by a dispute they hold out hope can be settled before the doors to their neighborhood schools are forced shut.

Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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2 Responses to Los Angeles | Parents Stuck Between LAUSD and Teachers Union as Strike Looms

  1. William Hicks December 18, 2018 at 4:01 am

    After a 43 year career with LAUSD I have come to the conclusion that all public education, at least in the peoples republic of caliifornia, is a total failure and all concerned parents should expect their children to be indoctrinated instead of educated there.

    Those parents wanting their children to be educated should immediately enroll their children in private education.

  2. Larry Sand December 14, 2018 at 9:18 am

    The union’s main rally point is for higher pay. But are the teachers really underpaid? According to the salary schedule, starting teachers in LA earn $50,368, while the average pay is $75,504, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. These numbers by themselves are deceptive, however. First, using U.S. Department of Labor data, researcher James Agresti explains that benefits – health insurance, paid leave, and pensions – typically comprise 33 percent of compensation for public school teachers. Including these perks, the average compensation for a teacher in LA jumps to about $113,000 per annum. Also, the old union ploy of comparing the pay of teachers to private industry employees is bogus. As Agresti points out, the latter work on average 37 percent more hours per year than public school teachers, and this includes the time that teachers spend on lesson preparation, grading tests, etc.

    Also, keep in mind that UTLA President Caputo-Pearl aspires to be far more than local union leader. After the last LA teachers’ strike in 1989, UTLA honcho Wayne Johnson became president of the California Teachers Association. The nakedly ambitious Caputo-Pearl seems to working from that script.


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