Less than a month into 2019, the teachers of Los Angeles have proven that last year’s wave of collective action isn’t quieting down. After taking to the streets in a strike that has captured the country’s imagination, members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) are returning to classrooms today after overwhelmingly approving a paradigm-shifting contract that delivers on key demands.
For six days, more than 30,000 UTLA teachers went on strike to shine a light on the daily realities of a neglected and underfunded public school system. They demanded better, and by standing together, they won it. Here are just a few critical improvements in UTLA’s new contract:
- A much-deserved 6% pay raise with no contingencies;
- A nurse in every school five days a week;
- A teacher librarian in every secondary school five days a week;
- Hard caps on class size that will go into effect immediately in 2019–2020, with additional improvements every year after;
- A commitment to reduce testing by 50%;
- Hard caps on special education caseloads; and
- A clear pathway to cap charter schools.
“For too long teachers have lived with a hard truth to tell—that for years our students were being starved of the resources they need,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl following the vote. “Our expectations were fundamentally raised by this strike. Together, we said we deserve better, our students deserve better. We must keep our expectations high and not let go of this moment, because the next struggle is right around the corner.”
This blog was originally published by the AFL-CIO on January 23, 2019. Reprinted with permission.