UTLA Members Ready to Strike

After more than 17 months of negotiating with LAUSD, teachers have had enough and voted to authorize a strike


By Gina Kim

For the first time since 1989, members of UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles) have voted to authorize a strike against LAUSD. The voting period started on Aug. 23 and ended on Aug. 30. Results have been announced on Aug. 31 and of the 80 percent  of the members of UTLA who voted, 98 percent voted to strike. It is unclear when the strike will occur.

For the past 17 months, UTLA has been bargaining with LAUSD for smaller class sizes, more nurses, counselors, psychologists and librarians, a 6.5 percent pay raise and more.

After more than a year of negotiating, UTLA leaders have officially stated that the two parties have reached an impasse.

UTLA has repeatedly contacted the district for mediation on Aug. 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31. However, LAUSD refused to participate until Sept. 27.

LAUSD has allegedly rejected almost all of UTLA proposals, saying that it is unable to fund the demands of the teachers, though, LAUSD has admitted to having $1.2 billions in reserve.  Some UTLA members speculate that these numbers are even higher.

But according to Los Angeles Daily News, the district currently has about half-billion-dollar budget deficit. If the district were to comply to the demands of teachers, the deficit would increase by $813 million.

The current reserve of $1.2 billion will be used to cover this year’s $502 million deficit, lowering the reserve to $700 million.

Members of UTLA in Van Nuys High School finished voting on Aug. 28.

“I think the strike has a 60 percent likelihood of happening,” said UTLA representative Mr. Crosby.

Although UTLA members have voted for the authorization of a strike, weeks or months can still pass before the actual progression of the walkout. In fact, it may not happen at all. While the vote gives the union authority to strike, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will happen.

If the union decides to proceed with the strike, students can expect teachers to be absent indefinitely from when the strike is scheduled to begin.

“Teachers would not report to work on that day and we would picket in front of the school. We would be carrying signs, picketing, telling basically everyone that we’re on strike and most of the teachers will not report to work. Some would, but most wouldn’t,”  Mr. Crosby concludes.