L.A. teachers union calls for 17.6% raise
By Howard Blume, LA Times |
January 17, 2014, 6:00 a.m. :: The union that represents Los Angeles teachers is seeking a 17.6% salary increase, officials announced.
United Teachers Los Angeles also is calling for a restoration of school staffing to levels in place prior to the state’s recent economic recession. In addition, the union wants new rules that will protect the rights and jobs of teachers at persistently low-performing schools.
“We’ve waited 2,531 days since our last salary increase,” said union President Warren Fletcher. “We do not have a desire to wait hundreds more or, God forbid, thousands more. The dollars are here.”
Fletcher was referring to increased revenue from the state’s improving economy, dollars from a voter-approved state tax increase and a new funding formula that provides more money to districts, such as L.A. Unifed, that serve students who are more challenging to educate.
In addition to lacking raises, teachers, over four years of the recession agreed to 16 furlough days, with each day equaling about half a percent of pay, Fletcher said.
The contract demands were approved Wednesday by the union’s governing body, called the House of Representatives. The original motion called for seeking a 17.6% increase over four years, but after a discussion, the time frame was removed. Fletcher said the goal would be to “frontload” as much of any raise as possible.
On Monday, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, speaking to civic leaders and activists downtown, said there is no doubt that employees need and deserve a raise.
But the details are likely to be disputed. In the past, Deasy has spoken of linking a substantial part of salary increases to incentives, such as teaching in hard-to-staff schools or achieving higher test scores. The union has resisted such moves. Both sides have framed their positions in terms of what will most benefit students.
This year’s improved budget includes some one-time funds that school districts will resist making part of permanent salary increases. And the new money set aside to help “high need” students must be used in a way that directly benefits these students under new state rules approved Thursday in Sacramento.
Teachers union offers reasons for pay hike demand
Posted on January 16, 2014 :: The LA teachers union, UTLA, just released a statement, explaining a decision made last night to seek a 17.6 percent raise raise for teachers and other LA Unified employees.
The release does not specify a time frame for the salary demands. What follows is the full text of the statement:
Silencing Rhetoric | http://bit.ly/1eQUBCY
“UTLA is tired of LAUSD’s rhetoric without action on pay increases for employees, smaller class sizes, and full staffing. The union’s governing body approved a salary increase demand of 17.6% on Wednesday, along with a package of demands including smaller class sizes, restoration of early education and adult education programs, and full staffing—bringing back counselors, nurses, librarians, and other Health and Human Services professionals. The union plans to bring the demands to the bargaining table as soon as possible.
“It’s been more than a year since California voters approved Proposition 30, the tax increase that is bringing millions of new dollars into the District. For the 2013-14 school year, LAUSD’s per pupil allocation increased 5.8%, and under the Governor’s new proposed budget, a 10% per pupil increase is expected in 2014-15.
“Throughout the state, school districts have approved salary increases to begin to pay back teachers and other employees who sacrificed during the recession years. In Los Angeles, teachers and Health and Human Services professionals took salary cuts over a four year period through furlough days and they have not had a cost of living increase in seven years.
“UTLA President Warren Fletcher said, ‘Parents and community members have experienced hardships themselves in recent years, and can relate to the economic needs of teachers and others who serve our students. Los Angeles teachers are leaving the profession or taking jobs in other districts, out of necessity. Students in this district should not be robbed of experienced teachers and HHS professionals while the Superintendent spends millions on pet projects.’ ”
“UTLA’s demands align with what the voters intended when they approved the tax increase—that the dollars would go to the classroom. That means smaller class sizes, restored services, full staffing, and fair compensation for employees.”