Anatomy of A Los Angeles Teacher Strike Part 1


That darned UTLA leadership! In a vain attempt to circumvent the Janus decision, teacher union officials are attempting to make the district (read taxpayers) pay for a new hire orientation session!  The thinking seems to be, if you can’t force the teachers to support your radical agenda and political spending, try to get the taxpayers to do it!

Mike Antonucci outlines the planning United Teachers of Los Angeles union officials are considering for this coming October.  While this may seem like a lot of advance to be thinking of a strike, there are underlying reasons, such a deep fear that the district is trying to “privatize” by creating more charter schools and a demand that the district provide the wherewithal for all new hires to attend at UTLA membership sales pitch.

The members of United Teachers Los Angeles have been working without a contract for 13 months. Last week the union declared an impasse in contract negotiations with the school district, the first step in a process that could ultimately lead to a teacher strike.

I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not party to any secret information that makes this a certainty, but every indication leads me to believe that UTLA will strike shortly after the first week of October.

. . .  UTLA’s leaders have a plan that goes far beyond what the other unions have in mind.

“Our vision for hope and reinvestment does not match their goal to defund, dismantle and ultimately privatize our school district,” said Arlene Inouye, head of the UTLA bargaining team.

UTLA wants the district to require, and pay for, new hires to attend a UTLA membership sales pitch of no less than 60 minutes, during which district representatives cannot be present.

But in a way, the union’s specific demands are beside the point. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl wants a strike. He has been lobbying the members and preparing them for the eventuality for more than two years. He has told them “if we don’t change the direction of the district and the state, we won’t have a public education system in five years.”

Caputo-Pearl and the rest of the UTLA leadership want to regenerate in Los Angeles what teachers did in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona last spring. Their vision is to create a movement that will monopolize media attention for weeks, followed by a large-scale concession from the district, followed by upward mobility for themselves.

Caputo-Pearl is fully aware of what the last Los Angeles teacher strike in 1989 accomplished — not so much for the teachers but for the UTLA president.

Tune in Monday for the rest of the story.