Los Angeles Teachers Get 21% Raises – Without Even Having to Strike

UTLA has announced a tentative deal with the City of Los Angeles that includes 21% in raises over just three years. The signatures are still pending, but I don’t expect a no-vote on this one.

Not only do the raises put our dismal pattern to shame; they aren’t even the only economic gains. There are also special additional pay increases for hard-to-staff titles like nurses ($20,000) and special education teachers ($2,500), among others. Contractual class size reductions, which UFC supports outright but Unity Caucus usually rejects for financial reasons, are also part of the LA deal. So we’re talking about what would be a dream deal in New York. Oh yeah, and did I mention there aren’t any healthcare givebacks either?

The best part? Los Angeles teachers didn’t even have to strike. The City knew they were strike ready, as they had already ‘pre-struck‘ for three days earlier this year in solidarity with SEIU-99. This goes to show that it’s not necessarily striking itself, but even merely showing a willingness and capability to do so, that shocks municipalities into signing good contracts with labor unions.

None of this is a surprise. All the data suggests that it’s the strike threat, and almost entirely the strike threat, which is helping labor make gains right now. It’s why many of us in the left-opposition were so shocked to see LeRoy Barr and other UFT leaders speak out against lobbying to reform the Taylor Law so that we would have the right to strike ourselves.

All this is critical, because the right to strike is in jeopardy right now. The Supreme Court is primed to make a decision that could allow companies to sue labor unions for strike-related losses to their bottom line. It goes without saying, that this would have a massive chilling effect for labor. In this terrifying moment for workers, some members of the opposition are planning to put forward a resolution for today’s DA to join the national fight for the right to strike. Now, whether Mulgrew calls on anyone to actually raise that resolution is another story. But, I hope Unity reverses course and does the right thing. We deserve the right to strike. And we aren’t getting the contract we need without showing the City that UFT leadership plans to seek it out.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *