Education Reform Los Angeles Unions

Los Angeles: UTLA Members Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize Strike

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98% of UTLA members voted to authorize a strike.

In a significant show of strength and unity, 98% of UTLA members voting said yes to authorize a strike, should one become necessary. During the week-long vote at school-sites, 81% of members cast ballots. Because of this historic turnout, a small number of ballots are still being counted tonight.

“Our members have spoken, with one big, united voice,” said Arlene Inoyue, chair of the UTLA Bargaining Team. “After 17 months of bargaining with LAUSD, educators are frustrated and angry. We want a district that partners with us—not fights us—on critical issues like lower class sizes, fair pay, and bringing more staff to work with our students.”

The results were a sharp rebuke to Austin Beutner and his austerity agenda to ultimately cut pay, healthcare, pensions, staffing, and student services, starving schools of resources and opening the door to dismantling the district. The huge turnout shows that educators in LA know what’s on the line and are ready to take action, connecting with the national teacher rebellions to stand up for public education.

While LAUSD would like to constrict contract talks to pay and a few narrow issues, educators have been fighting for a righteous set of proposals that are urgently needed for the district to survive and thrive, including lower class sizes, fair pay, less testing and more teaching, accountability for charter operators and co-locations, respect for early and adult educators, and more nurses, counselors, and librarians to support our students.

The force behind our vote is a clear signal to Beutner that he should stop the delay tactics, end his attempts to reach a backroom deal, and agree to enter mediation immediately.

The vote does not mean we are going on strike immediately. The results authorize the UTLA Board of Directors to call for a strike if LAUSD does not show good faith in mediation and offer a fair contract that respects educators, our students, and our communities.

Parents were with us at the vote count today to show their support for educators.

“Our teachers are there for us and our children every day, and now I stand with them in this important fight,” said Alejandra Delgadillo, a parent at Trinity Elementary. “I see what teachers take out of their pockets every week to spend on their classrooms. They deserve a fair pay raise for doing one of the most important jobs in our communities. But they are fighting for much more than just a pay raise—they are fighting for a better education for our children. As a parent, I hope a strike won’t be necessary, but I support the teachers if it does come to that. It will be a short-term sacrifice for my children’s long-term future.”

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