Teachers Union in LAUSD to Get More Militant, Raises Possibility of a Strike

Alex Caputo-Pearl framed his remarks around defining "social movement unionism," which he said is "explicit about fighting for racial and social justice."

UTLA Leader Alex Caputo-Pearl. Photo courtesy UTLA.
UTLA Leader Alex Caputo-Pearl. Photo courtesy UTLA.

The new leader of the Los Angeles teachers union signaled a more militant stance toward the school district at a national teachers union convention this weekend, including the possibility of a strike, it was reported today.

Alex Caputo-Pearl, who took office July 1, characterized a work stoppage as a potentially effective part of broader social action to benefit students as well as their instructors, the Los Angeles Times reported. Hs remarks drew cheers at the weekend convention of the American Federation of Teachers in downtown L.A.

In an interview, L.A. schools Superintendent John Deasy also sought to reach teachers, urging them to agree to terms similar to those achieved by other employee unions in the nation's second-largest school system, according to The Times. UTLA is seeking a 17.6 percent raise over several years.

Caputo-Pearl, 45, spoke at a Saturday-night panel with other teachers union leaders, including Michael Mulgrew from New York City and Karen Lewis from Chicago. Lewis, who sat to the right of Caputo-Pearl, led Chicago teachers on a 2012 strike, an experience for which she was celebrated at the convention, The Times reported.

The new L.A. union leader framed his remarks around defining "social movement unionism," which he said is "explicit about fighting for racial and social justice. It's explicit in fighting against privatization. It's explicit in taking people on who need to be taken on, including a lot of Democrats."

He added, according to The Times: "It's a unionism that is willing to strike. It's a unionism that is willing to build to a strike and strike if that's what we need to do." Caputo-Pearl added that he'd already advised members by letter to begin putting aside savings for a possible strike.

He also announced a major internal reorganization within United Teachers Los Angeles and signaled his intention to seek higher member dues to make the union a more effective political force, The Times reported.

--City News Service

JohnRinNoHo July 14, 2014 at 05:26 PM
This should by used as an opportunity to expand private schools and do away with the monopoly of union teachers who inflate their pay by forcible restricting competition. Why not let the parents of school children have the freedom to choose where they want send their children and thereby force the schools to improve or get out of the business?
Aris Puno July 15, 2014 at 01:30 AM
If it weren't for unions, then teachers wouldn't receive a fair salary. In fact, in LAUSD, it's been about 7 years since the last raise, 10 years since the last COLA (which the district has used for pet projects) and 4 years of a pay cut. In reality, any raise we get now isn't a raise at all. Teachers have made endless sacrifices to keep schools running. Also, let's not be naive to think teachers are not working diligently daily because of test scores. Any child can be successful and there is not one person whom I've come across and disagreed that parent involvement is a huge factor. Well, look at the area codes that LAUSD encompasses. If you are going to point fingers at teachers for failures, then point the finger at the first teacher the child has known: the parent(s).
Frank Estrada July 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Oh please.. public unions have single handedly destroyed the quality of life in LA. The LAUSD is a huge failure...Its time to break up the city of LA once and for all as it now longer can effectively serve the public
Fernando lopez July 16, 2014 at 12:59 AM
Good for the teachers, support them fully. Every private sector in life just wants to continue to bleed everyone out from where ever they can.


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