Teachers in L.A. are on strike for the first time in 3 decades

Posted at 10:58 AM, Jan 14, 2019
LA teacher strike
Teachers strike in the rain outside John Marshall High School in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES – Teachers in the nation’s second-largest school district have had enough.

Tens of thousands of teachers in Los Angeles are on strike following a failed deal in an attempt to raise wages and down-size classes.

Last year, the 35,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles voted to walk off the job for the first time in 30 years if a deal was not reached.

After months of going back and forth, talks between the teachers union and the L.A. Unified School District ended with no compromise, leading up to the strike.

In order to keep schools open, the district with 640,000 students, has hired hundreds of substitutes to replace teachers and others who leave for picket lines.

The teachers say they want a 6.5 percent raise that would go into effect immediately at the start of a two-year contract.

The school district proposed a 6 percent salary increase to gradually happen during the first two years of a three-year contract.

Teachers rejected this offer from the school district on Friday.

The district fears the union’s demands could bankrupt the school system. It’s projecting a half-billion-dollar deficit this budget year.

Teachers participating in this strike hope to continue the “Red4Ed” movement that began last year in West Virginia and spread across the country to several other states, including Colorado.

The union claims the district is keeping reserves of nearly $2 billion that they say could be used to fund the pay and staffing hikes. The district says that money is needed to cover retired teachers benefits and other expenses.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)