Some 600,000 Los Angeles Unified School District students returned to class Monday while the union representing their teachers rejected a proposal that would have added nearly 1,000 additional teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians to the district, according to LAUSD officials.
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,” United Teachers Los Angeles union president Alex Caputo-Pearl said before negotiations on Monday.
Beutner has also attempted to get an injunction against UTLA for insufficient notice of intent to strike, which could buy LAUSD a few more days. It’s Beutner’s third such attempt, however. LAUSD has also filed for an injunction to prevent teachers who serve special-education students from taking part in a strike, noting that the district’s special-ed programs are monitored under a federal consent decree, though the claim was struck down on Friday.
Even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has offered his services in ending the impasse. Last week, Garcetti offered City Hall as neutral ground for both parties, and the Los Angeles Times reported that UTLA refused to meet at City Hall.
Caputo-Pearl says UTLA will be in court Tuesday, defending its right to strike if need be. Wednesday will see another bargaining session, though a walkout is likely if no agreement is reached by Thursday.