UTLA protest sign: \

It’s no secret among teachers that we aren’t paid enough. But in L.A., it’s becoming a crisis.

Here in Los Angeles, where we’ve been working without a contract since 2011, our union recently voted to negotiate with LAUSD for a 17.6% salary increase.

Why such a specific number? Well, it’s based on the three-year contract increase ratified by Chicago’s teachers in 2012.

But really, it’s based on so much more. Think about it:

  • Our salary tables haven’t been adjusted since 2007 — even though inflation was 12.3% in that time.

  • We’ve had 16 furlough days since the Great Recession, eating up the equivalent of 8% of a year’s income.

  • Other funding streams dried up too: summer school was dramatically cut, as well as stipends for many additional assignments.

  • Even if the Board of Education agrees to the increase, we still will not recover the economic losses sustained over the last seven years.

Will They Take Action?

The looming question is: will UTLA and LAUSD be able to get it done?

  • New union leadership, if elected, cannot be seated until July. So, to the existing UTLA officers, you must overcome this current dysfunction to make this happen.

  • LAUSD, prove that you value your students by valuing the work of their teachers. Staff took big hits for the team when the going got rough, and still improved student performance. Are quality teachers a priority? Show us that we are.

Will We Take Action?

The district can’t educate kids without its teachers, and the teachers can’t educate the kids without the schools. Both sides should work to resolve their differences and come to a mutually beneficial agreement.