Freedom Foundation

After 22 Months Behind Closed Doors, Public Gets First Look at New UTLA Contract

With the union representing Los Angeles teachers finally agreeing to a new three-year contract with the school district, those who’ll actually be picking up the tab for it are getting their first look at the finished product.

In a sensible world, of course, they’d have been informed every step of the process. But in California, bargaining sessions are conducted behind closed doors in order to keep taxpayers from watching their elected representatives serve the unions rather than the public interest.

The most noteworthy elements of the new are the 6 percent raise it hands every employee, reductions in class sizes (which means hiring teachers — all of whom are expected to pay union dues) and an additional $403 million for a variety of new support services.

While many teachers are rejoicing over their new perks, taxpayers are left scratching their heads and wondering where all this extra money will be coming from.

It’s a fair question, especially since LAUSD has publicly said the district is sprinting toward fiscal disaster. While there are solutions being worked out, one fact is certain: Every Los Angeles resident will be paying more in taxes to fund union greed.

It doesn’t have to be this way. As the Freedom Foundation has consistently urged, collective bargaining needs to be done transparently, in the open, in full view of the public.

California Director and Vice President of Operations Bob Wickers has given several interviews over the past week with broadcast personalities such as Dr. Drew and John and Ken on this very topic.

In addition to radio interviews, the LA Times also published an op-ed co-written by Wickers and California Outreach Director Samuel Coleman about the UTLA teacher strike and how it could have been avoided.

Meanwhile, even Mother Jones agreed with the Freedom Foundation’s assertion that collective bargaining should be conducted transparently to allow the public to know how its tax dollars are being spent.

While nearly everyone agrees government ought to be more transparent in its dealings, it’s good to see it validated in print.

What’s next for the California Freedom Foundation?

For one, we’re currently looking into ways to make the bargaining process more transparent. We believe the best way to do this is to go county by county, starting small and finding middle ground that we can all agree on.

In the same vein, we’re currently looking into COIN ordinances and crafting our own resolutions that even union-controlled Sacramento can’t stop. We believe everyone wants more transparency …  they just don’t know how to go about it without unions erecting even higher barriers.

Whether it’s helping union members opt out of paying their dues or providing guidance to local governments, the Freedom Foundation is ready to help anyone who wants to part company with government unions and their destructive political agenda.