January 4, 2019News
“The court’s swift and decisive action shows just how desperate a move this was,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “Austin Beutner knew he didn’t have a legal leg to stand on but he went ahead anyway, spreading fear and confusion among the public, our members, special education students and families. The scare tactics must end now.”
On Thursday, LAUSD filed a claim in federal court to prevent UTLA special education teachers from striking. The threatened teachers immediately took to social media to vent their anger at LAUSD’s attempt to prevent them from exercising their right. This sneaky maneuver —especially coming from a district that has repeatedly ignored UTLA’s contract demands for special education class-size caps to relieve the burden of overcrowded special education classrooms – is beyond cynical and counterproductive.
(Read the conversations on numerous posts on our Facebook page here. <https://www.facebook.com/UTLAnow/>)
In two days, Beutner has used his high-priced lawyers to initiate two frivolous legal actions against UTLA and is now threatening a third. These tactics smack of disdain for the very school district he is meant to serve and protect.
On Wednesday, LAUSD officials went to PERB to seek an injunction based on unsubstantiated claims that UTLA has been preparing for a strike since 2016. Then today, the district threatened another lawsuit claiming UTLA did not give sufficient notice of our intent to strike, despite multiple notifications, including a Jan. 10 strike date announced on Dec. 19.
“Beutner is using his background as a corporate profiteer and downsizer. He has hired well-known privatizers and anti-union lawyers in an attempt to dismantle the school district as well as the solidarity of our union brothers and sisters. But we see right through this, and we will fight it every step of the way,” said Caputo-Pearl. “Rich people don’t like to lose, and having money allows you to shift the playing field. But public education belongs to the people of Los Angeles, not the super rich.”
It’s clear Beutner fears the collective power of educators, parents, students and the community coming together. We must stay united and focused on the goal: a contract that reinvests in our schools and improves our working and learning conditions.
We can expect to see more desperate actions by Beutner as our strike date nears. We are disappointed, but after 20 months of bad faith bargaining and disrespect, it is what we have come to expect from Beutner and LAUSD officials.
Regardless of this, we will sit down with LAUSD officials on Monday and expect them to provide a clear and legitimate proposal for us to consider, and that we can move toward an agreement.