Union Fails to Win Major Concessions in Deal to End Teachers Strike in L.A.

Teachers Strike scabs (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty)
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty

The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) reached an agreement Tuesday morning to end the ongoing teachers’ strike, with only minor concessions to the teachers’ union.

The deal includes a 6 percent salary increase for teachers — the same amount the district had offered — as well as “meaningful class size reductions” without a specific cap, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Buener told reporters at a press conference with union leaders and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti at City Hall.

Garcetti, a potential Democratic Party candidate for president in 2020, praised all parties to the agreement.

UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl told reporters that the deal was “much more than just a narrow labor agreement. It’s a very broad compact.”

He said the deal included “social justice” provisions, including protections for students against “racial profiling” by law enforcement. He later told a reporter that the deal would “minimize the searches that have, in many ways, made students feel racial profiling.”

It was not clear where the additional funds for higher teachers’ salaries would come from, and Garcetti suggested “there are a lot of pieces” that would have to “come from other places,” including the California State Legislature.

He said the agreement would be circulated to union members for a vote Tuesday, allowing the teachers to return to work Wednesday.

Early Tuesday morning, over 1,000 members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, visiting the city for a convention, joined the UTLA for a march through downtown L.A. A poster that had been mounted on a fire engine read “Red4Ed,” referring to a slogan that has been used by teachers’ unions in recent strikes across the country.

Caputo-Pearl said that planning for the strike had begun two years ago, and that the strike had happened because grievances had reached “a boiling point.” He referred to last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which prevents public sector unions from forcing public employees to pay union dues.

The strike “brought us not only to an agreement, but a commitment to fight for public education in a new way,” Caputo-Pearl argued. He said the strike had been worthwhile not just because of the agreement, but because it “helped raise the issue of public education” “nationally and internationally.”

He later added, in conversation with reporters, that class sizes would eventually be brought down over a period of three-and-a-half years, and that the district would hire additional “nurses, counselors, and librarians.”

He said that despite strained relations with Beutner, the union and the district would work together to restore mutual trust.

Details of the agreement were set to be released later in the day.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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