Saturday, August 11, 2018

Examining The Upcoming Teacher Strike in Los Angeles

UPDATE FROM JACK GERSON: Norm, Mike Antonucci predicts that UTLA will strike in early October. But they have just asked for impasse. Typically impasse is followed by mediation, which in itself can take well over two months After mediation comes PERB Factfinding. Another one to two months. My guess is a strike in about January. Jack Gerson
Caputo-Pearl and the rest of the UTLA leadership want to regenerate in Los Angeles what teachers did in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona last spring.... Mike Antonucci, EIA, LA School Report
Solidarity with a potential strike in LA in October will be a key priority for MORE in the fall... Peter Lamphere, MORE listserve
Posted: 01 Aug 2018 06:38 AM PDT
The other school employee unions in the Los Angeles Unified School District are settling contracts and going home happy. But not United Teachers Los Angeles. UTLA has wanted an occasion for a strike for two years, and it isn’t going to let anything stand in the way. I think I even know exactly when it will be.
Get the details at LA School Report.
Posted: 08 Aug 2018 07:02 AM PDT
Last week I predicted UTLA will go on strike. This week I predict the authorization will be more than 90%.
Read why at LA School Report.
There's a lot of excitement over the potential LA teacher strike, which would bring red state type action to biggest blue state and to the 2nd largest school system in the nation. UTLA leader Alex Caputo-Pearl, whom I first met 9 years ago, is organizing on many levels.

Mike A. comes at things from an anti-union perspective but does report accurately while also looking to punch as many holes as he can to burst the bubble.

In the interest of providing wide coverage I will be posting more from Antonucci whose analysis is always interesting.

Here are two views of the coming strike in Los Angeles. One from the UTLA and the always useful view from the right from Mike Antonucci, who has been writing extensively about the upcoming strike which he predicts will take place in October.



First, right from the horse's mouth, the UTLA:


In Critical Bargaining Moment, LAUSD Refuses UTLA’s ‘Last, Best and Final Offer’
 
UTLA Board Votes Unanimously to Declare Impasse

Reaffirming a lack of commitment to educators and students, LAUSD has once again doubled down in bargaining, refusing to acknowledge the critical state of our district and providing no proposals or counterproposals to improve learning and working conditions in our schools. Led by Supt. Austin Beutner, the district responded Thursday to UTLA's 48-hour request by saying our bargaining proposals and the sustainability of the district "cost too much."

“District officials claim we are being outrageous and uncooperative because we won’t join them in their cynical view of our future,” said Arlene Inouye, Chair of the UTLA Bargaining Team. “Our vision for hope and reinvestment does not match their goal to defund, dismantle and ultimately privatize our public school district.”

The UTLA Bargaining Team earlier this week reaffirmed that negotiations are at a deadlock after LAUSD brought to the table a previously proposed 2% ongoing salary increase, an insulting one-time 2% bonus and a $500 stipend for materials and supplies as their total compensation proposal. On Thursday, the UTLA Board of Directors voted unanimously to declare impasse.

“What is truly outrageous is that in the richest state in the country, we are 43rd out of 50 states in per-pupil funding,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “We can and we must do better. Additionally, we have pushed for essential improvements to the student learning environment, but Beutner and the Board majority have agreed to nothing and proposed nothing. This is a district worth saving, even if the leaders of our district do not believe so.”

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has five days to respond to UTLA’s request for impasse.

UTLA’s proposals include a 6.5% ongoing salary increase, lowering class sizes across all grade levels, ending overtesting and placing reasonable accountability measures on charter schools and co-locations.

Last Thursday, July 19, LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner told a room of business leaders at a Valley Industry and Commerce Association forum at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City that if things don’t change, "by 2021 we will be no more." Read the entire LA Daily News story here.

Some outstanding key issues:
  • Class Size Matters. LAUSD gave no proposals to reduce class size.  LAUSD has some of the highest class sizes in the nation, yet refuses to eliminate section 1.5 of the contract, which allows the district to ignore class size caps.
  • Fund Our Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to address funding issues. California is the richest state in the nation, yet ranks 43rd out of 50 in per-pupil funding.
  • Support Community Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to fund Community Schools. Community Schools meet the needs in the surrounding community, including wrap-around services, broadened curriculum and parent engagement.
  • Less Testing & More Teaching. LAUSD gave no proposals to address overtesting. Our kids are being overtested. Their teachers should have more discretion over what and when standardized assessments are given.
  • End the Privatization Drain. LAUSD gave no proposals for reasonable charter accountability and co-location measures. LAUSD refuses to address the $590 million lost to the unchecked expansion of charter schools each year.
Click here for more info on bargaining proposals. More information on bargaining and next steps will be coming soon.
 

Now from 
Antonucci: Bet the ranch — UTLA will strike in October


Mike Antonucci | July 31, 2018

Mike Antonucci’s Union Report appears weekly at LA School Report.

The members of United Teachers Los Angeles have been working without a contract for 13 months. Last week the union declared an impasse in contract negotiations with the school district, the first step in a process that could ultimately lead to a teacher strike.
I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not party to any secret information that makes this a certainty, but every indication leads me to believe that UTLA will strike shortly after the first week of October.

At first glance, this seems entirely avoidable. Last January the district hashed out an agreement on health benefits with UTLA and the district’s other unions. After contentious contract negotiations with SEIU Local 99, which represents school support employees, the two sides settled on a three-year deal with a 3 to 4 percent salary increase in the first year, and a onetime 3 to 4 percent boost in the second year that will become permanent if the district’s overall financial status improves.

LAUSD also just came to an agreement containing similar pay increase terms with the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents principals and administrators.

As I write this, the district announced a three-year deal with the California School Employees Association that includes pay increases of 2 percent per year.

The last reported district offer to UTLA is for a 2 percent increase and a 2 percent bonus, similar to the other contracts.
Under normal circumstances, UTLA would bargain that offer up to 3 percent or slightly more and call it a day. But UTLA’s leaders have a plan that goes far beyond what the other unions have in mind.

“Our vision for hope and reinvestment does not match their goal to defund, dismantle and ultimately privatize our school district,” said Arlene Inouye, head of the UTLA bargaining team.

The union submitted a 69-page “last, best and final offer” that calls for a 6.5 percent pay increase retroactive to July 2016. It also contains provisions that require additional hiring of librarians, nurses, counselors, and restorative justice advisors.

Additionally, UTLA wants the district to require, and pay for, new hires to attend a UTLA membership sales pitch of no less than 60 minutes, during which district representatives cannot be present.
But in a way, the union’s specific demands are beside the point. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl wants a strike. He has been lobbying the members and preparing them for the eventuality for more than two years. He has told them “if we don’t change the direction of the district and the state, we won’t have a public education system in five years.” If he really believes that, even a 6.5 percent salary hike won’t get it done.

Caputo-Pearl and the rest of the UTLA leadership want to regenerate in Los Angeles what teachers did in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona last spring. Their vision is to create a movement that will monopolize media attention for weeks, followed by a large-scale concession from the district, followed by upward mobility for themselves.

Caputo-Pearl is fully aware of what the last Los Angeles teacher strike in 1989 accomplished — not so much for the teachers but for the UTLA president.

UTLA’s own history lauds the nine-day strike that culminated in a “historic” three-year contract, with 8 percent wage increases each year. What seems to have fallen into the memory hole is that UTLA’s original demand was for 21 percent over two years, and the district’s last offer before the strike was for 21.5 percent over three years. Nevertheless, the strike burnished the reputation of then-UTLA President Wayne Johnson and launched him to the presidency of the California Teachers Association.

There are only two things that could head off a teacher strike. The first is that Caputo-Pearl’s master plan has already had more failures than successes. He planned to win a majority on the LAUSD school board in 2017. He wanted to coordinate bargaining and labor actions with other teacher union locals in California whose contracts were expiring at the same time. He wanted to put a split-roll property tax initiative on the November 2018 ballot. None of those things came to pass, so perhaps he is also overestimating his members’ enthusiasm for a strike.

The other X-factor is the resignation of LAUSD school board member Ref Rodriguez after pleading guilty to a felony count of conspiracy. That leaves the board deadlocked at 3-3 between union allies and opponents. Whoever fills Rodriguez’s seat may determine the outcome of UTLA contract negotiations, though it may not happen in time to stave off a strike.

With that in mind, we note that Huntington Park councilwoman Graciela Ortiz announced her candidacy for the seat over the weekend. As recently as 2016, Ortiz was a UTLA member, received the union’s gold community award, and spearheaded a charter school moratorium in Huntington Park.

If Ortiz or another candidate gives the union a majority on the board, UTLA could see its contract demands met, but I think the union would rather have the strike first. Tactically, the best time to launch a job action is right after payday, which for most Los Angeles teachers will be Friday, Oct. 5. If I were a Los Angeles public school parent, I would start researching alternative accommodations for my kids for the week of Oct. 8.

 =======


In Critical Bargaining Moment, LAUSD Refuses UTLA’s ‘Last, Best and Final Offer’
 
UTLA Board Votes Unanimously to Declare Impasse
 
Reaffirming a lack of commitment to educators and students, LAUSD has once again doubled down in bargaining, refusing to acknowledge the critical state of our district and providing no proposals or counterproposals to improve learning and working conditions in our schools. Led by Supt. Austin Beutner, the district responded Thursday to UTLA's 48-hour request by saying our bargaining proposals and the sustainability of the district "cost too much."

“District officials claim we are being outrageous and uncooperative because we won’t join them in their cynical view of our future,” said Arlene Inouye, Chair of the UTLA Bargaining Team. “Our vision for hope and reinvestment does not match their goal to defund, dismantle and ultimately privatize our public school district.”

The UTLA Bargaining Team earlier this week reaffirmed that negotiations are at a deadlock after LAUSD brought to the table a previously proposed 2% ongoing salary increase, an insulting one-time 2% bonus and a $500 stipend for materials and supplies as their total compensation proposal. On Thursday, the UTLA Board of Directors voted unanimously to declare impasse.

“What is truly outrageous is that in the richest state in the country, we are 43rd out of 50 states in per-pupil funding,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “We can and we must do better. Additionally, we have pushed for essential improvements to the student learning environment, but Beutner and the Board majority have agreed to nothing and proposed nothing. This is a district worth saving, even if the leaders of our district do not believe so.”

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has five days to respond to UTLA’s request for impasse.

UTLA’s proposals include a 6.5% ongoing salary increase, lowering class sizes across all grade levels, ending overtesting and placing reasonable accountability measures on charter schools and co-locations.

Last Thursday, July 19, LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner told a room of business leaders at a Valley Industry and Commerce Association forum at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City that if things don’t change, "by 2021 we will be no more." Read the entire LA Daily News story here.

Some outstanding key issues:
  • Class Size Matters. LAUSD gave no proposals to reduce class size.  LAUSD has some of the highest class sizes in the nation, yet refuses to eliminate section 1.5 of the contract, which allows the district to ignore class size caps.
  • Fund Our Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to address funding issues. California is the richest state in the nation, yet ranks 43rd out of 50 in per-pupil funding.
  • Support Community Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to fund Community Schools. Community Schools meet the needs in the surrounding community, including wrap-around services, broadened curriculum and parent engagement.
  • Less Testing & More Teaching. LAUSD gave no proposals to address overtesting. Our kids are being overtested. Their teachers should have more discretion over what and when standardized assessments are given.
  • End the Privatization Drain. LAUSD gave no proposals for reasonable charter accountability and co-location measures. LAUSD refuses to address the $590 million lost to the unchecked expansion of charter schools each year.

Click here for more info on bargaining proposals. More information on bargaining and next steps will be coming soon.
 

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