More than 30,000 striking teachers are scheduled to return to class Wednesday as United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. Once the agreement is ratified by UTLA membership – expected to occur today – the six-day strike that has rallied the city and cost the district millions will officially be over.
Union and district representatives announced the tentative agreement Tuesday morning after days of negotiations that began Thursday and continued through the three-day holiday weekend. The work stoppage was the first at LAUSD in 30 years.
“We have seen over the last weeks something pretty amazing happen here,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said, speaking at a press conference with School Superintendent Austin Beutner and Mayor Eric Garcetti Tuesday morning at Los Angeles City Hall. “We went on strike in one of the largest strikes the United States has seen in decades, and the creativity and innovation and passion and love and emotion of our members was out on the street in the communities, in the parks, for everyone to see.”
“I’m so proud of our members…who took it upon themselves in record numbers on the picket lines to express what we’ve all known but has been a truth hard to tell sometimes, which is that public education desperately needs attention,” Caputo-Pearl continued.
“The strike nobody wanted is now behind us,” added Beutner. “We welcome back with open arms and warm hearts our educators and look forward to a new day of learning for all of our students.”
While the new deal will include a pay increase, UTLA officials stressed that the issues of the strike went deeper than teacher salaries. They sought concessions over class sizes, staffing levels of school nurses, counselors and librarians and assurances that their schools were not at threat of privatization via charter schools.
Among the provisions of the tentative agreement:
- a resolution calling on the state to establish a charter school cap and the creation of a Governor’s committee on charter schools,
- UTLA, LAUSD and the Mayor’s office jointly advocating for increased county and state funding.
- elimination of Section 1.5, which had previously allowed the district to unilaterally ignore all class size averages and caps,
- A 3% retro salary increase for the 2017-2018 school year and a 3% salary increase retro to July 1st, 2018,
- The district hiring 150 full time nurse positions for the 2019-20920 school year and at least 150 full time nurses for the 2020-2021 school year,
- The designation of 20 community schools by June 30, 2019 and an additional 10 community schools by June 30 or 2020.