FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 4th, 2018
Contact: Josh Kamensky – 323 326 7438 – firstname.lastname@example.org
SOLIDARITY WITH TEACHERS
With One Voice, 800,000 Workers of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Back Potential LAUSD Educator Strike
COALITION OF OVER 300 UNIONS VOTE TO SUPPORT UNITED TEACHERS – LOS ANGELES
As mediation between district officials and teachers continues, Los Angeles County labor leaders representing 300 different trade unions voted unanimous support for a potential strike by the 33,000 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers represented by United Teachers-Los Angeles.
“Our future as a city has always depended on our teachers having the support they need and the respect they’re owed,” said Rusty Hicks, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “And today the Los Angeles labor movement is speaking that truth in one united voice.”
“We are proud to carry forward the strike sanction of the LA Fed,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United-Teachers Los Angeles. “Your vote as fellow workers, as parents, as Angelenos shows a common, vested interest in a successful school system. This vote represents our collective solidarity, which is vital to the success and sustainability of our neighborhood public schools.”
UTLA represents 33,000 educators in the Los Angeles Unified School District. They have been negotiating a contract renewal with the district since April 2017, and their members have been working without a contract for more than a year.
“As school workers dedicated to the learning and well-being of our students, and as parents whose own children attend LAUSD schools, we stand in solidarity with teachers,” said Max Arias, President of SEIU Local 99. “We understand how staffing and resources impact student learning. We know that when working families and communities have good stable jobs, our children thrive. And we know the power of unified action. This spring, SEIU Local 99 members reached a contract agreement with the school district that improves both student services and the livelihoods of dedicated school workers only after we voted to authorize an unfair practice strike and set a deadline. The voices of front line education workers matter and we are committed to support teachers in their demands for equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for all students.”
“Nurses get the same message as teachers when they demand better conditions-they tell us our work is too important to let us strike,” said Jazmin Ochoa of the California Nurses Association. “If our work is so important, it’s time to treat us with the respect we deserve before it comes to a strike. And if you let it get this far, know this: we stand with our sisters and brothers.”
“Last year, my daughter fell and cut herself on a day there was no nurse on campus,” said Sonny Martinez, LAUSD parents and union activist. “We had to come to the school to take her to urgent care. Parents can’t tell our kids, ‘only get hurt on Tuesdays and Thursdays.’ Is it so much to ask that we be able to drop our kids off at school and know there will be a qualified adult around if they fall on the playground?”
“Students Deserve uses the Black Lives Matter framework of ‘divest and invest,'” said Nileema Hossain, a 9th grade student at New Open World academy at RFK. “If money is divested from random searches, policing, criminalization of youth of color, privatization, and LAUSD’s $1.86 billion reserve, and then invested in these Community Schools that students of color deserve, we would have a just education system and a school district where Black Lives Matter in schools. This is why we support UTLA’s contract fight.” Hossain is a youth organizer of Students Deserve, one of the anchor organizations of Reclaim Our Schools LA.
Why are teachers preparing to strike if needed?
Because class size matters. LAUSD has some of the highest class sizes in the nation, yet Section 1.5 of the contract allows the District to ignore class size caps.
To improve school safety. With a student-to-counselor ratio of 945:1 in California and student-to-nurse ratio of 1,224:1, teachers call on LAUSD to add more school nurses, counselors, social workers, librarians and other staff and include more educator input on school safety plans.
To fund our schools. California is the richest state in the nation, yet ranks 43 out of 50 in per-pupil funding.
To support community schools. Community schools meet the needs in the surrounding community, including wrap-around services, broadened curriculum and parent engagement.
For less testing and more teaching. Our kids are being overtested. Their teachers should have more discretion over what and when standardized assessments are given.
To end the privatization drain. LAUSD has yet to address the $590 million lost to the unchecked expansion of charter schools each year with reasonable charter accountability and co-location measures.
A late-August vote showed near-unanimous support (98%) for a strike, with a showing of 82% of UTLA members.