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A Look Back at the LAUSD Teachers' Strike

Volume 1; Issue 3; May 15th, 2019

The beginning of 2019 didn’t go as planned for LAUSD. A Court Judge authorized a legal strike by the United Teachers of Los Angeles for Monday, January 7th, 2019. The strike lasted six school days, from Monday, January 7th to Tuesday, January 15. The District and UTLA came to an agreement by vote of its members on Monday afternoon. Teachers were told by union leaders to report back to work Tuesday morning. The strike was primarily fighting for smaller classroom sizes, and a nurse and teacher librarian five days a week in every secondary school. Teachers fought for many things and a pay raise was only one of them, but the most important thing that they wanted was reduced class sizes, which they got over a span of four years and one student per year.

The teachers’ strike was a very big deal for education as a whole. Other school unions and districts have gone on strike, but LAUSD is the second largest school district in United States. The UTLA/LAUSD teachers’ strike was such an ordeal it was talked about all over the world. Education as a whole is not necessarily treated with the utmost attention and importance. UTLA teachers’ strike has given many other districts the momentum and courage needed to stand up for themselves. Oakland, Cleveland, and Denver went on strike as soon as the UTLA strike ended.

We interviewed some teachers that went on strike and some that opposed the strike. We will keep their identities confidential.

  • Teachers who did strike held many opinions. Some said. “The strike was definitely a win” Most teachers thought the teachers’ strike came to an adequate settlement. What most teachers were really happy about was the clause that was removed stating at any point in time LAUSD could put new students in classes, even though a class may already be at maximum capacity. Most teachers agreed that it was a “good agreement”. A lot of teachers felt like they were brought together. “We felt like what we were doing had purpose. Everyone was brought together, families, students, and teachers”.

  • Some teachers opposed striking and here are some of their thoughts. Most teachers crossing the picket line had really all the same concern, which was a loss of pay for however long the strike lasted. Some teachers simply opposed bargaining a new deal and felt the one LAUSD offered was adequate, and they also welcomed charter schools. The most interesting opinion or answer was “ I pay UTLA or rather UTLA is given a medium or rather large amount of money out of my check, as my union why should I go on strike and take a pay cut because UTLA couldn't do their job and negotiate a good deal with LASUD that all teachers were okay with”.

Overall most teachers did go on strike; only a few did not. Many schools had 100% of their teachers on the picket line. No one was required to go on strike; it was a personal choice. Some teachers chose to be a part of a larger movement, together suffering the consequences and having to live with them, but standing strong as unit, growing together, and in the end winning. Teachers who chose to remain on the side lines will reap the benefits of the teachers who did strike, without suffering any consequences. Overall, the terms of agreement in the teachers’ new contract was a win for education. It showed people if there is something wrong and it needs to be changed it can be, if everyone unites and fights together. LAUSD agreeing to UTLA'S terms was a huge win for education as a whole. Being the second largest school district in the U.S definitely set a standard for other teachers’ unions and educational communities across America and the world.

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