The Battle for Los Angeles

Unions are supposed to work for their members, but it seems there is only one candidate who will do that in the upcoming United Teachers of Los Angeles’ (UTLA) elections, one of the most powerful teacher union affiliates in the country.  Instead of listening to its members, it appears the union hierarchy will continue to play politics.  Current president Alex Caputo-Pearl cannot run for a third term due to term limits, but that does not mean he will not crown his own successor from the Union Power slate (his handpicked officers).  Only one candidate is running on a platform of more union transparency and democracy, which will benefit for members.  And he is not on the Union Power slate.

It is also clear the current union hierarchy is afraid of the power the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation-won Janus decision has given teachers to resign their union membership at any time, and to stop paying forced dues.  If the union hierarchy plays politics and elects the Union Power (Alex Caputo-Pearl’s handpicked officers) slate, members who want more transparency and a return to union democracy may exercise their Janus rights and stop paying dues.

Additionally, as Howard Blume notes in the Los Angeles Times, the election affects the public in many ways other than education.

One ballot this season is off-limits to the public but carries far-reaching ramifications for hundreds of thousands of youths and their families — the election of a new president and other officers for the Los Angeles teachers union.

United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl, who led 30,000 teachers in a strike that gripped Los Angeles last year, is barred by term limits from running for a third three-year term.