Deal Reached for LA Teachers
Many demands were met in one of the biggest teachers strikes in our nation's history
After a week on strike, the second largest school district in America has reached a tentative agreement.
The announcement was made early Tuesday morning after both sides emerged from a marathon 21-hour bargaining session. Although the announcement of a tentative agreement was made on Tuesday, teachers remain on strike until the school board and the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) vote to ratify the deal. The union said that they had established procedures for teachers to vote remotely from the picket lines so that the vote can be completed before school re-opens on Wednesday.
The deal came together after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti stepped in and helped to mediate a deal. While the deal that was reached did not go as far as UTLA wanted, they did gain significant concessions from the district. The main sticking point of the strike was the district’s refusal to reduce class sizes. UTLA was able to successfully remove a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that allowed the district to unilaterally increase class sizes. The district also committed to four years of class size reductions and agreed to create 30 new community schools. These schools are supposed to provide social services to students and families, rich academic programs that include the arts and leadership roles for parents and teachers. The district also agreed to expand to about two dozen the number of schools that will no longer conduct random searches of middle and high school students. That provision was especially important to students who marched in support of their teachers. While salary increases were not a major sticking point UTLA was able to secure a 6% raise, including a 3% raise this year and a 3% retroactive raise.
“When UTLA started this journey, surveying our members, community, students, parents, for what they were interested in changing we took on this idea of bargaining for the common good, which means bargaining for some issues that aren’t usually brought to the bargaining table,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “I’m happy to say that we were able to make some real progress on things like community schools, investing in a new model of schooling that brings the community in, brings wraparound services in. We have some exciting things to talk about green spaces in schools and making sure that searches that are done at schools don’t criminalize students or operate in a racial profiling sense. This is much more than a narrow labor agreement it is a very broad compact around things that get at social justice, educational justice, and racial justice.”
While the deal is a major win for UTLA, there will be no rest for the weary. Since it took two years to negotiate the deal, the new contract will only run through June of 2020.