Mike Antonucci outlines the strategy for the Los Angeles teacher strike, now scheduled for January, presumably for maximum effect. Most students should be back in school after the holidays are over. Students will be encouraged to participate in a strike prep art build where placards and picket signs will be made up to use during a December 15 march.
The contract dispute between the L.A. Unified School District and United Teachers Los Angeles entered its final phase as the three-member fact-finding panel was finally seated last week. The panel now has 30 days to submit a nonbinding report of its recommendations, after which the district may impose its final offer and the union may strike.
There is no danger of the union striking before the holiday break. It has already informed its members that the strike will occur in January if no agreement is reached, though it has not settled on a specific date.
In its communications, L.A. Unified is sticking to its message that it supports much of what the union wants in terms of class sizes and additional staff but that the increased spending will drive the district into bankruptcy. L.A. Unified continues to balk at union demands for further restrictions on charter schools, magnet schools, and testing.
On Dec. 4 and 11, union members will boycott scheduled faculty meetings and use that time to phone students’ parents to inform them “about the issues and invite them to the Dec. 15 March for Public Education.” On Dec. 6, members will hand out leaflets to parents at school sites.
The weekend of Dec. 7-9, students and teachers will participate in a “strike prep art build” in which banners, posters, and picket signs will be constructed for use during the march and strike.
These actions will culminate in a large-scale march Saturday, Dec. 15.
The union’s public actions will dominate the news cycle for the next month, but the panel’s findings will determine the validity of the district’s financial projections. If the report supports the district, it may have a nominal effect on public perception, but it won’t dissuade the union from carrying out its own plans.