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UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl speaks at the March for Public Education on Dec. 15.

United Teachers Los Angeles president Alex Caputo-Pearl announced during a news conference this morning that UTLA members will strike on January 10 unless the Los Angeles Unified School District makes major changes to the disrespectful and bad-faith bargaining tactics they’ve been engaged in for nearly two years under the direction of Superintendent Austin Beutner.  Flanked by UTLA members, parents, and students, Caputo Pearl declared, “There has been one force at the bargaining table attempting to improve the educational experience for the 600,000 students in the district, and that has been UTLA.” He also credited Reclaim Our Schools LA, and parents, students and community for their work.

Caputo-Pearl also announced UTLA  is filing another Unfair Practice Charge  against LAUSD and Beutner, who yesterday put out a statement to the media falsely claiming UTLA had accepted a salary offer from the district. The union decried other instances of Beutner releasing proposals or information to the media before even presenting them to UTLA.

 “We are fighting for educational justice. Join us.”

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl

The UTLA president also emphasized that this will not be a strike about salary. “From the beginning our proposals have been an attempt to save public education in Los Angeles, to make thriving schools in LA for the students of LA. Austin Beutner continues to try to buy us off by focusing exclusively on salary. As we’ve said for months, we will not be bought off.” He went on to blast Beutner’s failure to address issues that matter to students such as class size, shortages of school nurses, limits on standardized testing,  parental involvement, and regulation of charter schools, and the superintendent’s attempts to starve L.A. schools while sitting on a nearly $2 billion reserve.

Today’s strike announcement comes on the heels of a massive March for Public Education on December 15 where 50,000 educators, parents,students and community members took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles in support of UTLA’s efforts to save Los Angeles schools.

Because of the ethnic and lower income makeup of the vast majority of the District’s student population, Caputo Pearl said “we consider everything we’re fighting for as much a racial justice issue as it is an educational justice issue.” When asked what he would say to LA families about the potential strike, he pointed to the broad support parents families have already shown, and then responded, “We are fighting for educational justice. Join us.”

Featured photo from the UTLA press conference on Dec. 19, 2018.