Los Angeles teachers angered over secret talks between union, school district and mayor
Dan Conway and Jerry White
21 January 2019
Striking teachers in Los Angeles are expressing their anger over being kept in the dark on the content of the closed door negotiations between the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union and school district officials, which began last Thursday under the auspices of Democratic mayor Eric Garcetti. While the mayor has indicated that a deal could be reached before Tuesday, neither side has issued an official statement on the talks.
The walkout by more than 33,000 teachers, which began on January 14, has pit educators in the nation’s second largest school district against the entire Democratic Party establishment, which has overseen decades of defunding of public education and expansion of charter schools and other privatization schemes. Teachers who have not had a raise in a decade are fighting for improved wages and school funding, smaller class sizes and to halt the expansion of publicly funded private charters that siphon off resources and students from the traditional public schools.
UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl and other union officials have claimed that teachers “are the most essential part of the bargaining process.” In practice, however, the UTLA has relegated teachers to the position of cheerleaders while union executives bargain behind their backs.
During the course of the weekend negotiations blackout, the UTLA posted a number of videos on social media of teachers taking a break from picketing to dance and sing along with several celebrity endorsements of the strike. This campaign, meant to distract and mollify rank and file teachers, has encountered growing anger from educators determined to carry out a serious…