For the first time in nearly 30 years, United Teachers Los Angeles has voted to authorize a teacher strike. The 650,000 students of the nation’s second-largest school district will not be in class during a time where student outcomes are plummeting.
Why is UTLA striking? And better yet, what can be done to avoid teacher strikes in the future?
The last offer made by the school district was to add nearly 1,000 additional teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians, while spending more than $100 million to reduce class sizes and hire additional support staff.
On top of this, teachers were also offered a 6 percent raise over the next two years, which includes back pay for the 2017-18 school year.
According to UTLA, the union is holding out for a “real offer that addresses all of our issues.”
What more could they possibly be asking for?
Two of the largest sticking points, which were not included in the LAUSD offer, were to defund the charter school project and reduce testing for students. In other words, destroy school choice for thousands of families and make teachers less accountable for their failure.
What makes this stance truly outrageous is, this is just what we’ve actually heard. But we may never know what’s being thrown around behind closed doors because collective bargaining the negotiations are conducted in secret.
Everyone, except union leaders who have fought it every step of the way, would benefit from a more transparent collective bargaining structure. Both bargaining parties claim the other is the problem, but it’s hard to prove your point when a veil of secrecy has been drawn around the proceeding.
If collective bargaining is open to the public, neither side will be allowed to control the narrative about who the obstacle is. Everyone will know, union members and the public alike.
The Freedom Foundation has been very vocal in the past and has had success in several counties in Washington creating transparent collective bargaining resolutions. Unfortunately for union workers, their dues were used to launch a pointless legal attack in an attempt to ward off transparent bargaining.
They failed, and transparent bargaining moved forward.
Hopefully, one day California will follow suit. As all Californians know, however, the state has been moving in the opposite direction.
With former Gov. Jerry Brown signing the CRONEY Act in 2015 — directly in defiance of transparent collective bargaining — something needs to change if California residents can one day hope to be back in control of their government.