LA teachers strike ends with salary deal
by Laura Edghill
Posted 1/23/19, 01:36 pm
Tens of thousands of Los Angeles teachers returned to their classrooms Wednesday after voting to ratify a proposed contract deal. The vote ended a six-day strike by the United Teachers Los Angeles union in the nation’s second-largest school district. The agreement includes a 6 percent pay raise for teachers and a commitment by the district to reduce class sizes over the next four years. It also provides for an additional 600 nurses and numerous other support positions, such as counselors and librarians, over the next three years.
Both sides claim that they got what they wanted in the final 21-hour bargaining session, but Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner cautioned that a $500 million budget deficit still looms at the end of this school year. “The issue has always been how do we pay for it?” he said. “That issue does not go away now that we have a contract. We can’t solve 40 years of underinvestment in public education in just one week or just one contract.”
Seemingly emboldened by last year’s “Red4Ed” movement and the LA strike, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, the union that represents about two-thirds of the city’s public school teachers, held its own vote Tuesday, deciding to strike next week if contract negotiations don’t lead to better base pay rates, among other demands.
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Laura Edghill is a freelance writer, church communications director, and public school board member living in Clinton Township, Mich., with her engineer husband and three sons. She is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute's mid-career course. Follow Laura on Twitter @LTEdghill.