A major victory for local teachers appears to be imminent, with the Los Angeles Unified School District and its teachers’ union—representing approximately 35,000 educators— announcing a tentative labor agreement today with the most striking wins being a 21 percent salary increase and smaller class sizes.
“With this tentative agreement, LAUSD now has an opportunity to become one of the most successful school districts in the country,” United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement. “We held the line during bargaining on a number of initiatives because educators are the experts on what has the ability to transform LAUSD into a more equitable environment that not only improves students’ learning but also the quality of life for L.A. families.”
LAUSD issued a statement that the agreement was well needed and also one that focuses on instruction by reducing class sizes and increasing mental health and counseling services in order to better support the needs of students. In keeping with the priorities in Los Angeles Unified’s Strategic Plan, the agreement with UTLA addresses years of pay inequity and inflation.”
The package includes an extra $20,000 salary bump for nurses and a $3,000 additional salary for school psychologists, psychiatric social workers, attendance counselors and other special services providers. The contract also includes an extra $2,500 ongoing increase for special education teachers and a $1,500 ongoing raise for early education teachers.
The tentative contract, covering 2022-25, still needs to be ratified by UTLA members and the LAUSD Board of Education.
The district’s board on Tuesday is scheduled to approve a separate labor contract reached late in March with the SEIU Local 99, which represents service workers and includes a 30 percent salary increase for custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, special education assistants and others.
The two labor struggles dovetailed nicely: when SEIU Local 99 went on strike for three days in March, the teacher’s union honored their strike by refusing to cross their picket line, resulting in a shutdown of district schools. And for LAUSD, reaching a deal with the teacher’s union was also the chance to eliminate the potential of another strike.
Janette Verbera, a Special Education Assistant at LAUSD told her union, SEIU Local 99, that she participated in the limited strike because “I am a single mother and for the past 20 years, I have worked two and sometimes three jobs just to support my family… it is debilitating to do a job day-in-and-day-out that I passionately love and be at a salary below the poverty wage level.”
Optimistically, it looks like there will be two new contracts soon.
Arlene Inouye, representing the teachers as UTLA bargaining co-chair and secretary, added in a statement, “Educators have always put their livelihoods on the line to ensure student success, and this tentative agreement illustrates our hard-fought commitment to making our schools a place where both faculty and students can thrive.”
City News Service contributed to this report
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