Representatives of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) met at the bargaining table again on Wednesday in hopes of reaching a contract agreement.
Although details of the meeting were not available by deadline, it appeared evident that the two sides would not reach a deal by the end of the day. However, LAUSD officials do not anticipate the negotiations having any impact on the beginning of the school year on Tuesday.
“Things will proceed as normal without a deal,” LAUSD director of communications and media relations Lydia Ramos said, adding that “certain steps” would have to take place before any kind of action disrupted school.
According to a UTLA press release, the district presented the teachers union with a revised contract on July 21, and UTLA described the offer as a “nonstarter.”
The multi-year contract included a 2 percent lump sum payment for 2013-2014 and a 2 percent across-the-board increase the following school year. UTLA members would receive a possible 2 percent increase in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
“The last two increases are not guaranteed and would only come if LAUSD determines it can afford it,” the press release states. “When you add this up, the offer does not come close to UTLA’s demand for a 17.6 percent increase spread over multiple years.”
According to the union, LAUSD educators have not received a salary increase in seven years and took “what amounted to” an 8 percent pay cut during the recession. However, union representatives said the demands are not just about getting raises.
“We are united with parents and the community in demanding substantial reduction in class sizes and fully staffed schools to support the education and social-emotional needs of students,” the release states. “This offer only maintains current class sizes and asks that UTLA stop advocating for smaller, pre-recession class sizes.”
According to the release, the state has given the LAUSD a 10 percent increase in funding this year and “more is on the way.”
“While we recognize LAUSD is required to increase its contributions to teacher retirement funds, other districts have found a way to meet these state requirements and still offer fair compensation to its educators,” union representatives said.
Ramos said the LAUSD has yet to receive any kind of offer from UTLA, which also serves health and human services professionals. She said the district is happy to meet and come up with a deal that works.
“We absolutely want to provide raises and a comprehensive compensation package to teacher nurses and counselors as soon as possible,” Ramos said. “They deserve it, and we would like to provide it to them.”
She said the LAUSD has invited the union to “work at a faster pace” to get a deal signed, but UTLA has declined to do so. Ramos said the district would like to have the issues resolved as soon as possible so the district “can maintain stability” in its schools.
“We … are intent on having a successful school year, so we are working every day,” she added.
UTLA is still operating on a three-year contract that ended in 2011. Ramos said the district has approved several tentative agreements with the union since then. The tentative agreements focused on job restoration, health benefits, teacher evaluations, furlough days, pilot schools, local school stabilization and more, she said.
“We’re working to create a district where all of our students graduate, where all of our teachers are well compensated and valued. Let’s get there,” Ramos said, adding that the district has sought to meet with UTLA since January. However, the union held an election earlier in the year, and leadership changes likely led to operational delays.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.