Los Angeles teachers union postpones strike to Monday

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United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is delaying the start of a possible teachers strike until Monday, union leaders announced earlier this week. Originally, the strike was set to begin Thursday, but UTLA officials said the new date would help dodge a legal challenge from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“While we believe that we would eventually win in court against all of (Superintendent) Austin Beutner’s anti-union, high-priced attempts to stop our legal right to strike, in order for clarity, and to allow members and our communities to plan, UTLA is moving the strike date to Jan. 14,” UTLA Vice President Gloria Marinez said.

LAUSD filed an injunction last week, contending the union did not give an official 10-day notice of intent to strike, as state law requires. Although the legal challenge is still playing out in Los Angeles Superior Court, UTLA leaders announced the new strike deadline at a news conference outside district headquarters just before entering another round of bargaining with LAUSD leaders.

United Teachers Los Angeles union president Alex Caputo-Pearl told reporters he “did not see seriousness” from the district and criticized Beutner for not being present for Wednesday negotiations. Beutner and school board President Monica Garcia were in Sacramento to meet with state leaders to seek more revenue for the district, a district official said.

Should more than 30,000 teachers, nurses, librarians and counselors strike, it would be the district’s first walkout in 30 years, and impacting 600,000 students.

Talks between LAUSD and UTLA have been riddled with accusations of bad faith bargaining on both sides. Last Wednesday, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner accused the union of refusing further negotiating sessions, an accusation UTLA rebuffed by accusing Beutner of trying to negotiate through the media.

“He [Beutner] is desperate to contain our collective power and the only way he knows how to do it is through costly legal maneuvers,” Caputo-Pearl said before negotiations on Monday.

Both sides are scheduled to be back in court at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

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