The Los Angeles teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, is pressing the Los Angeles Unified School District to increase teacher pay by 20% over two years, reduce class sizes, and improve kids’ access to mental health and academic services. On Monday, members of the Los Angeles Teachers Association held a rally in front of the district’s downtown offices, urging Los Angeles Unified superintendent Alberto Carvalho to address their demands.
According to UTLA representatives, their members’ burnout has been exacerbated by the pandemic, teacher shortages, and high cost of living, all of which have contributed to their demands for a 20% rise spanning two years. The union is also demanding smaller class sizes district-wide, fewer hours spent on standardized tests, and more nurses, librarians, and counselors.
UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz and newly elected board member Rocio Rivas were among the prominent figures who spoke at the demonstrations, and they both emphasized LAUSD’s $3.4 billion in reserves as proof that the district could afford the hikes and other measures right now. The most recent contract was due to expire in June, and after taking a break over the summer, discussions started back up again this academic year.
“If you want to contract by the end of the year, we’ve got to turn up the heat right now,” Myart-Cruz shouted to the crowd gathered in front of LAUSD’s headquarters. “We’re going to tell Carvalho and every district official, they better come back to the table in January and be ready to rock and roll.”
Given that the state anticipates a $25 billion shortfall for the next year, district authorities have expressed alarm about possible challenges. While the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has been able to use temporary state and federal COVID relief money, those resources may soon run out.
LAUSD has said that it is collaborating with its labor partners in order to advance their contracts while discussions continue.
In a statement, LAUSD added, “Los Angeles Unified continues to meet with our labor partners frequently.” In light of the present economic climate, they recognize the need to reward their hardworking staff properly. We are still committed to avoiding drawn-out discussions so that they may concentrate their attention where it belongs: on the kids and their success.