January 23, 2019
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“A Message to Our Members from AFT President Randi Weingarten”
Updated On: Jan 10, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

The Los Angeles school district has $2 billion in reserves, but it’s not willing to use the money to create the conditions educators need to help students succeed.

Educators in L.A. have been bargaining for 20 months, fighting not just for fair salaries but for every child in the city to have a safe and welcoming place for learning, and against the austerity measures for public schools the district’s superintendent continues to promote.

The members of United Teachers Los Angeles are fighting for issues that, sadly, are too familiar: adequate funding for public schools, full-time counselors and nurses in every school, smaller class size, fair compensation and community schools.

And the boss? Superintendent Austin Beutner is intent on dismantling the school district and prioritizing charters, which syphon off $600 million a year. What he doesn’t prioritize—20 months after the contract expired—is neighborhood schools or a fair agreement with the district’s educators.

That is why a strike is imminent. UTLA members will go on strike on Monday, January 14, absent a last-minute settlement (which no one predicts, as the district has busied itself with fighting UTLA in court rather than working to meet teachers’ and students’ needs at the bargaining table). You can help right now and over the next few days.

First, let the superintendent and school board know that the entire country is watching. Send a message to LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner right now and urge him to quit stalling and reach an agreement with L.A.’s educators: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-lausd-stop-starving-la-schools

A strike is a last resort for working people when their employer, in this case LAUSD, refuses to listen to their important concerns.

Second, on Monday, January 14, we need to be a sea of red from coast to coast. We are all L.A., on the first day of the strike. Many will also be acting in solidarity on Jan. 10, the day UTLA initially thought the strike would begin.

Los Angeles needs to see your solidarity, so please post your photos online using #RedForEd #UTLAStrong #WeAreLA so L.A. teachers can see your support!

This is a struggle for the future of public education, and many parents and communities are supporting us. If you want to make a contribution to that effort, donate to the Los Angeles Teacher/Parent Strike Solidarity Fund to support the strike by contributing to Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles.

After nearly two years of fruitless negotiations and numerous unfair practice charges, the school district has failed to adequately address the issues we know are essential to a healthy, nurturing educational environment—like lower class sizes; full-time nurses, counselors and librarians; and less over-testing and more time for science, art and music classes.

2018 was the year of walkouts, but that energy continues now with L.A. teachers demanding the district give students the resources and investments they deserve.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten, AFT President


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