LA Unified, teachers union bargaining: same as it ever was

UTLA-Contract-Negotiations unionThe slow pace of negotiations between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, continued yesterday, with the district proposing new language on employee evaluations, transfers and early retirement incentives and no counter-offers this time from the union on those issues or anything else.

That leaves the talks about where they’ve been, with all 12unresolved issues still unresolved.

That includes salary raises, on which the sides are 4.5 percent apart. The union is demanding raises of 8.5 percent a year; the district is offering 4 percent. The subject did not come up yesterday.

And so another month and 17th negotiating session pass with no agreement, leaving teachers earning the same as they did more than seven years ago.

Another session is scheduled for next week.

2 LAUSD roles now 1, UTLA president takes case to talk radio

school report buzz

The Associated Administrators of Los Angeles and LA Unified reached an agreement last week to consolidate two positions into one. The role of “assistant principal” and “instructional specialist” as of July 1 will be merged into the role of “assistant principal elementary” or “assistant principal secondary.”

The change was explained by AALA in its weekly newsletter: “APs and ISs have similar duties and responsibilities at school sites and often are used interchangeably. However, APs earn seniority while instructional specialists are temporary advisers and do not earn seniority. ISs may be released from their positions at any time with no recourse. Some superintendents have encouraged principals to use the budget process to replace APs with ISs which has destabilized schools, caused job insecurity and decreased the number of APs throughout the District. Consolidation will afford greater protections to all while stabilizing school staffs.”

Caputo-Pearl on KABC 790

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the LA Unified teachers union, UTLA, appeared yesterday morning on the KABC 790 radio show McIntire In the Morning to give his response to a sharp letter from LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines that criticized the union’s contract demands as unreasonable and a path to severe layoffs in the district.

There weren’t any huge surprises in Caputo-Pearl’s comments, but his appearance on the show along with the Cortines letter certainly illustrates how both sides are ramping up their PR campaigns as contract negotiations appear to be stalling.

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UTLA helping raise money for family of boy killed at middle school

Steven Cruz

Steven Cruz

UTLA, the teachers union, is helping raise money for the family of a 14-year-old boy who was killed outside Griffith Middle School in east LA last week. The family is seeking donations to help pay for his funeral expenses and remains short of the $15,000 needed as of today.

Steven Cruz, a student at nearby Garfield High School, was on Griffith school grounds meeting a friend after school when he was attacked by another student and stabbed, according to media reports.

The attack occurred around 3:10 p.m. Friday and Cruz was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead at 3:48 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported. A suspect, who turned out to be a 13-year-old boy, was arrested the next day and charged yesterday with murder. His name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

The suspect is a possible gang member, but friends of Cruz said he had no gang ties and police have yet to release what the motive for the attack may have been, according to ABC7. Before the stabbing the suspect reportedly asked Cruz where he was from, which is a common tactic used by LA-area gang members to determine someone’s gang affiliation or to claim certain turf as their own.

UTLA has posted a link on its website and Facebook page to help raise awareness for the fundraising campaign, with a note reading: “Our thoughts and prayers go to the Cruz family after this unthinkable tragedy that occurred at Griffith MS on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.”

The GoFundMe campaign for Cruz includes a message from his family that says the teen was “in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” It also reads, “He pursued everything with enthusiasm and that’s what is so memorable of him. His enthusiasm, his energy, and his laugh would always make your day. If you were having a bad day, he was able to make you laugh.”

Cortines breaks silence on teacher talks, lashes out at union

Ramon Cortines union* UPDATED

LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines today for the first time publicly inserted himself into the district’s contract negotiations with the teachers union, calling its latest demands “entirely unrealistic” and asserting that they raise “serious ethical and equity issues” for the district.

Pointing out that all the district’s other unions have agreed to new contracts within the current economic landscape, he chided UTLA for its bargaining stance over 16 negotiating sessions, saying, “It is regrettable that the current UTLA leadership has gone in an entirely different direction.”

Alex Caputo-Pearl, the UTLA president, told LA School Report that he found Cortines’s two-page letter to “Employees and Labor Partners” “unfortunate” and “unacceptable” at a time he and other UTLA officials have been meeting with Cortines and district officials apart from the negotiations in a “problem-solving mode.”

“Unfortunately, the Superintendent is using scare tactics in response to our efforts to organize in our ‘school blitz’ campaign,” Caputo-Pearl said, adding that Cortines’s message comes as the state is putting more money into public K-through-12 education and the district is still finding money for huge legal settlements and the continuing array of technology problems.

“To say he can’t do this,” Caputo-Pearl said of meeting union demands, “is just unacceptable.”

Until now, Cortines had kept himself out of the spotlight except to encourage more dialogue between the two sides. But in his letter, he did not mince words, calling on UTLA leaders to “re-examine and reconsider their present demands and their single-minded pursuit and organization of a disruptive strike against our students and the community to achieve those demands.”

The strident tone of the message suggests that Cortines had a wider audience in mind.

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Analysis: New contract for LA teachers seems a long way off

UTLA rally at James Monroe High School Nov. 20, 2014

UTLA rally at James Monroe High School Nov. 20, 2014

How long have they been at it now, four, five six months?

Whatever it is, negotiators for LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, appear as close to agreement on a new labor contract as they were when bargaining began.

Maybe they are inching forward on some issues. But the fact remains, teachers are still without a pay raise, as they have been since World War II, it seems, and the pace of talks gives no indication a deal is within reach.

And that makes perfect sense.

Even with one of the union’s prime objectives completed —  the departure of former Superintendent John Deasy — an agreement seems well off in the distance, and here are three reasons why:

First, the union might find a better deal on the other side of this year’s school board elections, in which four members are running to hold their seats — George McKenna, Tamar Galatzan, Bennett Kayser and President Richard Vladovic.

The current board leans pro-UTLA on many issues, with two strong union supporters in Kayser and Monica Ratliff and three members whose votes are less predictable but generally teacher friendly in Vladovic, Steve Zimmer and McKenna.

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Teachers drop salary demand again as LAUSD holds on class size

UTLA-Contract-NegotiationsThe LA Unified teachers union, UTLA, dropped its salary demand yesterday to an 8.5 percent increase from a 9 percent, the union’s third consecutive lowering of what many teachers consider the most important issue in negotiations for a new contract.

As part of the change, UTLA negotiators also asked the district for an annual $1,000 stipend for all certificated bargaining unit members for supplies and support materials. And the union is demanding that members be paid at their hourly rate for professional development and or training.

In the same bargaining session, the district addressed another key union issue — reducing class size — by saying with limited money available, the district would keep class sizes at their current levels and spend what it can on salaries.

The two issues are among 12 the two sides are negotiating as the academic year moves into the second semester with no real agreement on salary — or much of anything else — in sight. The district’s most recent salary offer was a 4 percent raise, plus pay for professional development days that the district says represents another 2 percent. District negotiators did not change that offer yesterday.

The union’s latest salary demand was its fourth, after starting at 17.6 percent over two years, then 10 percent for one year, then 9 percent for one year.

Salary and class size are inextricably linked. More of one and smaller of the other have been two of the union’s bedrock demands since the election of Alex Caputo-Pearl as president last year. But the district has not budged from its position that, in effect, the union can’t have both, and for now, the priority is raising teacher pay.

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LA teachers union seeking to negotiate management decisions

UTLA-Contract-NegotiationsAs part of its contract negotiations, the teachers union, UTLA, is asking LA Unified for a new approach to school oversight, a demand that seeks to move decisions on school management and operations into the collective bargaining process.

In effect, the proposal would insinuate UTLA into areas now the sole province of the board and LA Unified administration, giving the union greater influence in how all district schools would be managed and run.

The proposal also seeks to eliminate major administrative differences between the district’s traditional and charter schools, many of which operate with rules different from those governing traditional schools. For example, independent charters are not required to hire union teachers. The union proposal would require that all district schools be “held to the same standards of accountability, educational quality, equity, and transparency.”

While the district has not flat out rejected the request, made in October, it responded with a detailed memo last month that argues that the union’s proposed changes would violate state laws and create new burdens on the district.

“The proposal raises a number of major legal, jurisdictional, political and operational challenges,” the memo said. “It conflicts with existing laws, policies and established decision-making authority, creating a thicket of confusion, duplication, conflicts and litigation among the District, the County, and the Charter Schools. The Proposal would require creation of a significant new bureaucracy and legal team to administer and defend its dubious assumptions of authority.”

In an addendum to its response, the district expressed a willingness for further discussion on the union’s desire to improve overall educational opportunities and outcomes; and those, the district said, “will occur within the collective bargaining meetings and within the consultation process as appropriate, and will involve use of sub-committees and focus groups as needed.”

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Week in Review: New offer to UTLA, new job for Deasy

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In case you missed it, here are the top five stories from LA School Report this past week:

LA Unified, citing new money, ups its offer to teachers
Bolstered by a more robust state budget, LA Unified said it was doubling its offer to UTLA.

Survey: Teachers support changes in state job protection laws
The majority of public school teachers who participated in a new survey support changes in state teacher job protection laws that were the focus of last year’s landmark ruling in Vergara v. California.

Deasy to work for Broad Center as ‘superintendent-in-residence’
Former LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy will be working as a consultant for The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems as a “superintendent-in-residence.”

Feds find lack of leadership, vision, planning on iPads, MiSiS
A report from the U.S. Education Department on the district’s troubled $1.3 billion iPad program and gitchy MiSiS computer system had few positive things to say.

LAUSD middle school among California’s ‘Schools to Watch’
LA Unified’s Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park was honored as a model middle school by the state program, “Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage.”

JUST IN: LA Unified, citing new money, ups its offer to teachers

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl teachers union

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl at Tuesday’s LAUSD school board meeting


Bolstered by a more robust state budget, LA Unified today said it was doubling its offer to union teachers for a raise.

The latest salary proposal, unveiled during today’s contract negotiations, is a four percent boost across all salary bases. The offer comes on the heels of Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015-16 proposed state budget, which is estimated to add more than $500 million in revenue for the district.

The union responded by saying the offer “doesn’t go far enough” in satisfying demands for a suitable wage increase. Later, the union said its governing body, the UTLA House of Representatives, approved moving $3 million dollars into a “reserve strike fund.” The money would be used for “organizing actions such as our massive rally” scheduled for Feb. 26 at Pershing Square.

“With millions now in our organizing fund, UTLA would be in a position to strike if necessary,” a union press release said.

At first blush, the district’s new offer would appear to be an increase from its previous offer of a 2 percent salary raise, along with two bonuses of 2 percent each, for an overall bump of 6 percent for the current academic year.

But the new offer appears to be only equal to the previous one in that it includes a 4 percent raise plus pay for professional development days that the district says represents another 2 percent.

If there is an advantage for teachers in the latest offer it’s that subsequent salary negotiations for future years would be based upon a 4 percent raise for this year, rather than a 2 percent raise.

“We are all grateful for the additional state funding to support salaries and to preserve jobs and services,” Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a statement today.

In recent months, the union, UTLA, has altered its salary demands from 17.6 percent over two years to 10 percent over one year to 9 percent over one year. Until today, the district had held fast to no more than a 2 percent annual pay raise.

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Survey: Teachers support changes in state job protection laws

VergaraThe majority of public school teachers who participated in a new survey support changes in state teacher job protection laws that were the focus of last year’s landmark ruling in Vergara v. California.

The findings were somewhat of a surprise in that the poll, conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research for Teach Plus, a national nonprofit that focuses on professional development for teachers, sought responses from only full-time district public school teachers, omitting charter school teachers, private school teachers and part-time teachers.

Under California law, all full-time district public school teachers must be members of the union or pay an agency fee to the union.

The defendants in Vergara — the state, along with its two big public school teachers unions, the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) — have appealed the ruling. If the lower court ruling stands, the legislature would be compelled to rewrite the laws struck down — on tenure, dismissal and layoffs.

While the 500-plus teachers surveyed were not asked directly about the Vergara ruling, they were polled about their feelings on those three issues.

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Labor board rules against LAUSD for teacher evaluations

teacher_evaluation_satisfactory* UPDATED

LA Unified violated state employment laws by imposing an evaluation system on members of its teacher union, UTLA, a state agency said in a tentative ruling made public today.

If the ruling made on Christmas Eve by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) stands, the district would have to stop the evaluation process, which was implemented in 2013 under former Superintendent John Deasy. The district would also be ordered to compensate UTLA members for any financial losses incurred as a direct result of the evaluation system, which was based on a four-level observation rating system.

UTLA, which filed the complaint in June 2013, said in a statement it is “gratified” for the board ruling. The district has until Feb. 22 to appeal, but the union said it “is confident that if there is an appeal, the full PERB board will affirm the administrative law judge’s decision that the District acted unlawfully.”

David Holmquist, the district’s chief legal counsel, declined to comment on the preliminary ruling, saying he has not had an opportunity to discuss the ruling with the school board.

“I’m not ready to say what we think it means,” Holmquist told LA School Report in a phone call. “There’s a lot that we need to figure out,” he added.

The board will review the findings and plan a potential response at its board meeting next week.

“Once I bring it up to the board we will decide what responses we want to make to that,” Holmquist said. Some possibilities he mentioned are filing an extension of time to continue litigation or firing off a list of objections to the preliminary ruling.

In the meantime, Holmquist confirmed the district is “in conversation with UTLA.”

Since the district implemented a four-level evaluation, UTLA has objected, arguing that the union’s 30,000 members never had a chance to vote on it. They also allege it creates a path to establish merit pay to reward the highest performing teachers. Another element they oppose, is the use of student testing data in judging teacher efficacy.

Teacher evaluations have been part of the contract negotiations between the district and the union that have generated little progress so far. The sides are scheduled to resume talks a week from today.


*Adds comment from UTLA.

Bay Area teacher pay progress comes amid LA Unified standstill


As negotiations between LA Unified and its teachers union, UTLA, stumble along with still a wide gap on salaries, two Bay Area school districts, have made significant progress in their own deals with teachers.

San Francisco teachers have agreed to a double-digit raise over three years while Oakland teachers are in line to get at least the same.

While contract negotiations through December have narrowed the gap between LA Unified and UTLA in raises, the sides remain far apart. On Dec. 17, UTLA announced it had reduced its latest salary demand to a 9 percent raise over 1 year, from a demand of 10 percent, while the district held to its offer of a 2 percent raise with a pair of one-time bonuses.

On Dec. 12, the San Francisco Unified school board approved a 12 percent raise for teachers in a three-year deal, while Oakland Unified’s superintendent on Dec. 17 announced he would like to offer teachers a raise of as much as 13.7 percent over three years. Negotiations in Oakland are set to resume this month.

The news is significant for LA Unified, the largest district in the state, as San Francisco is the sixth largest district in the state and Oakland is the the 12th largest.

Also significant is that Oakland and San Fransisco, along with LA Unified, were recently ranked near the bottom of the largest districts in the country in salary over a 30-year career in a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). When the cost of living was considered, San Fransisco ranked 123rd, Oakland ranked 120th, and Los Angeles 94th out of 125 possible rankings.

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A letter from Cortines reflects deep divisions with teachers union

UTLA contract proposal to DeasyA bargaining update from LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines yesterday to district employees may prove ominous for the teachers union, UTLA, and ultimately the district’s 650,000 students.

In his three-page review of negotiations so far, Cortines concedes that all workers “deserve additional salary increases, particularly in view of the recent past years of salary freezes and furlough days that were necessary to save jobs and survive the Recession.”

But he warns that any raise must be based upon “available resources.”

“The District’s 2014-15 budget is now balanced and fully committed with its current offer on top of all other expense commitments,” he wrote. “The District has offered to open its books should UTLA have any questions about its budget condition.”

Is he signaling that the district will not budge from a 2 percent salary raise that other unions have accepted, no matter how LA Unified might sweeten the pot with one-time bonuses?

To recap: In its latest offer, the district would give the teachers a 2 percent bonus for last year, a 2 percent bonus for the year approaching and the 2 percent raise — payouts that equate to $150 million, according to the district.

The union has asked for 17.6 percent over two years, 10 percent over one year and, it’s latest demand, 9 percent over one year.

Cortines’s message reviews other issues, including evaluations, class size and thw way cases of alleged misconduct are handled.

But nothing in the letter would lead anyone to assume major progress is underway.


UTLA drops salary demand to 9 percent over 1 year

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA

Representatives for the teachers union, UTLA, lowered their salary demand yesterday, asking LA Unified for a one-year 9 percent pay increase for the current academic year, with future increases tied to that.

Vivian Ekchian, the district’s chief negotiator, said the proposal “is under review and we will ascertain the cost to the District.”

While the shift suggests movement in contract negotiations that have been stumbling along for months, it still leaves the side far apart, with the district holding to a 2 percent salary increase and one-time bonuses.

The union said on its website that its new demand was done as an effort “to increase the pace of bargaining.” In the same vein, it called for weekly negotiation sessions, starting in January even though the sides have been meeting almost once a week since the talks began.

The union’s latest proposal also included demands for three self-directed voluntary planning and collaboration days to be paid at hourly rate, stipends of $1,000 for materials, full rate pay for professional development  and a potential retirement incentive.

Fully anticipating no immediate agreement from the district, the union’s website said Gov. Jerry Brown‘s new budget in January will reflect how much money LA Unified can expect from the state.

Previous stories: UTLA rejects pay increase offer from districtAnalysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?


Teachers, LA Unified in last bargaining session of the year

UTLA-Contract-NegotiationsThe teachers union, UTLA, and LA Unified officials will be back at it today, for the last contract negotiations of the year.

The final bargaining session has no set agenda, but Vivian Ekchian, the district’s Chief Labor Negotiator, told LA School Report salary discussions are likely to be front and center.

To that end, the district yesterday sent out an email addressed to its “Dear Employees”  and the subject line: “District’s latest wage offer – willing to pay while talks continue about future increases.”

Earlier this month the district proposed a one-year deal with an equivalent raise of 6 percent. The money would be distributed through a 2 percent ongoing salary increase retroactive to July 1; a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings; and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year.

According to the email, “This offer represents an increase to UTLA members of $48 million above the previous District 4% offer for 2014-15.”

Negotiations on all other issues — class size reductions, so-called teacher jail and teacher evaluations — would continue uninterrupted and UTLA would resume salary negotiations next year.

Although UTLA made no official response, the website pointed out, “the District is still only offering a 2% salary increase.”

The meeting begins at noon today and will take place at UTLA headquarters.

Previous Stories: UTLA rejects pay increase offer from districtAnalysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?Caputo-Pearl asks energetic UTLA rally: ‘Are you ready for a fight?’

Teachers union rejects pay increase offer from LAUSD

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsBack to the drawing board.

Following the most recent bargaining session last Thursday, the teachers’ union, UTLA, has reportedly rejected a pay increase offer from LA Unified negotiators that fell short its goal of a 10 percent salary increase.

The latest district offer included a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year, according to a district press release.

The offer was essentially a one-year deal on salary at the same rate the district is paying other labor partners, and the district asked UTLA to accept the deal immediately and agree to continue negotiating on non-salary issues and pay beyond the fiscal year, which ends July 1.

Aside from a salary increase, UTLA also is seeking a reduction in class size, an end to “teacher jail,” and other concessions. The union’s demands are outlined in the Schools LA Students Deserve campaign.

UTLA also rejected the idea of piecemealing out the union’s contract issues, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

“We’re committed to fight around that package of issues, and we’re not going to separate things out one by one,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl told the paper.

When negotiations began four months ago, the district was offering a 2 percent raise while  UTLA sought an increase of 17.6 percent over to years. UTLA has since changed its goal to a 10 percent raise over one year.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Dec. 16.

Previous Posts: Analysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?Caputo-Pearl asks energetic UTLA rally: ‘Are you ready for a fight?’LA Unified guaranteeing teachers the pay raise already offered

Analysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?

UTLA rally at James Monroe High School Nov. 20, 2014

UTLA rally at James Monroe High School on Nov. 20, 2014

LA Unified’s latest offer to the teachers union, UTLA, represents either a hint of progress in negotiations for the teachers’ first contract in more than seven years or fertile ground for moving toward a strike.

Here’s why the uncertainty: The 6 percent package includes the same salary increase that the district has offered all its other bargaining units —  2 percent, and for just one year.

It also includes the same lump sum payout of 2 percent for last year that was included in previous offers. The sweetener is an additional lump payout of 2 percent for next year, with an offer to negotiate the out years, starting with next year.

Depending on what the sides might agree upon for 2015-2016, the sweetener is, indeed, a bonus. It becomes something less than that if the raise for 2015-2016 fails to reach 2 percent. The district calculates that every 1 percent increase amounts to $24 million in spending, which makes the 6 percent package equal to $144 million in budget impact at a time the district says it’s facing a $326 million deficit.

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JUST IN: LA Unified increases salary offer to UTLA

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract Negotiations* UPDATED

LA Unified today increased its salary offer to the teachers union, UTLA, offering a one-year deal with a 6 percent increase.

The district said in a press release the money would be distributed through a 2 percent ongoing salary increase retroactive to July 1; a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings; and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year.

The union did not directly respond to the district proposal, which is not far off its original offer of a three-year package that included the lump sum of 2 percent for last year, 2 percent for this year and next and 2.5 percent for the following year, with the last two years contingent on the district budget. The contingency was later dropped.

Both versions were flatly rejected by the union, which moved from a 17.6 salary raise demand over three years to a one-year deal at 10 percent.

The new wrinkle in today’s district proposal is that the combined 6 percent would be paid within a period of a few months, with an agreement to continue negotiating raises for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

As UTLA pointed out on its website, “the District is still only offering a 2% salary increase.”

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UTLA negotiations resume, new charter campus, ‘Grinchmas’

school report buzzNegotiators for UTLA and LA Unified are meeting for another contact bargaining session today, the first since mid-November.

UTLA did not respond when asked what topics might be on the table today, but the previous session saw UTLA adding to its demands to include supports for displaced educators, improved UTLA representation for substitute educators facing termination, clean and safe schools, improved grievance procedures to deal with unfair treatment by principals and increased school-based decision-making regarding Breakfast in the Classroom.

On the hot-button issue of salary, the district is reportedly still sticking to its offer of 2 percent, while the the union wants 10 percent.

Facebook faceoff for UTLA

Quite a few UTLA members were not pleased with the union’s leadership after it issued a press release regarding a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer for a fatal shooting with racial overtones that has sparked protests nationwide. The statement was a simple, short one, calling on “law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles and other cities to reexamine how their departments interact with people of color.”

In response to the union’s Faceook post about the statement, many UTLA members sounded off and voiced displeasure that leaders were weighing in on a national issue. One post read, “UTLA…Please take care of UTLA business and work on contract negotiations. You represent the teachers of LAUSD in SCHOOL matters….don’t make statements about other areas as our representatives.”

The number of angry posts was enough to prompt a response from UTLA leaders that said the officers “want to assure you that they are focusing on your top priorities in bargaining with the District.”

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Report: LA Unified near bottom in teacher pay for large districts


There’s a new report that negotiators for United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) might be pulling out at the next round of contract negotiations with LA Unified.

A new study by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), finds that LA Unified teachers rank near the bottom of the 113 largest districts in the country in salary over a 30-year career.

The study tried to determine which districts offer teachers the most “bang for the buck” by accounting for variables like districts with performance-based raises, the time it takes a teacher to climb the salary ladder and cost of living in the district.

Of 113 districts and 125 total rankings — after performance-based districts are broken out with three different levels of average, above-average and exemplary —  LA Unified ranks 94th out of 125. Cost of living adjustments had a huge impact on some districts; on salary alone, LA Unified ranked 30th overall.

The difference over a 30-year career between the top and bottom is quite wide, as a teacher at No. 1 Pittsburgh would make over $1.2 million more when adjusted for cost of living than a LA Unified teacher.

“In many districts, teachers are working for years and years under a system of small, incremental raises. We know it doesn’t have to be this way,” Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said in a statement. “There are districts that allow teachers, especially exemplary teachers, to more quickly reach their top salaries,”

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