January 10 strike date set for 33,000 Los Angeles teachers
24 December 2018
Last week, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) announced that it had set a strike date of January 10 for 33,000 teachers after failing to reach an agreement with the district after more than 18 months of negotiations.
The announcement came a few days after as many as 50,000 educators and their supporters marched in the nation’s second largest school district to demand increased wages, a reduction in class sizes and the hiring of nurses and other critical staff. Teachers in Oakland, Fremont and other California cities are also pressing for strike action as part of the resumption of teachers’ strikes, which saw statewide walkouts earlier this year in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and other states.
Ever since the previous contract expired in June 2017, the UTLA has sought to prevent a walkout in defiance of a 98 percent strike mandate by rank-and-file teachers. This included tying teachers up in worthless state mediation and fact-finding schemes.
Even in his announcement of the deadline, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl made it clear that he would call off strike action if district officials gave the union some gesture to sell the members. “We will strike on January 10 unless we see an addressing of the crucial issues that shape education,” the UTLA president declared.
On the question of salary, the district had initially proposed a 3 percent increase retroactive to the 2017-2018 academic year along with a 3 percent increase in the next conditional upon the district’s financial health. The union has given its blessing to this insulting pay offer from the banker-turned school superintendent Austin Beutner, which is barely above the…