Unions celebrate California election victory with LA school strike

LAUSD is going to run a $300 million deficit for every year for the next three years.  Add to that the hundreds of millions the unions are demanding or they go on strike and end education opportunities for over 600,000 students.  Of course you also have to weigh if going to class is best of students in LAUSD.  In 2017 52% of the students given diploma’s had a “D” average—functional illiterates..  So it looks like even with teachers in the classroom, not a lot of education is happening.

“The shrinking union membership is coming from the state and local government entities, where Democrat politicians have signed blanket employee contracts.  LAUSD full-time teachers make $89,000 per year, about 25 percent more than the $71,666 state average.  But 4 percent, for religious, or just broke Millennial reasons, refused to pay United Teachers of Los Angeles’s $988.20 in union fees despite significantly coercive automatic deductions.

The number of these union “refuseniks” at UTLA is expected to skyrocket after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees on June 2018: “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.”

Most organizations would be expected to try to maximize membership by cutting dues.  But UTLA union president Alex Caputo-Pearl championed a 33-percent increase in union dues to offset the 25-percent decline in LAUSD students after parents of 245,000 students rebelled against a district where only 22 percent of 4th-graders test as proficient at math left the district or are now sending their children to non-union charter schools.

A 33% INCREASE in dues?  Could it be that a long strike, more than two weeks could demolish the union by teachers going back to work and ending union membership?  Is the union using this strike to show the teachers they own LAUSD—what if the District refuses to give in?  At what point does the union collapse?

LAUSD school bus

Unions celebrate California election victory with LA school strike

By Chriss Street, American Thinker,  1/8/19
The first crisis for California’s new Democrat governor and veto-proof legislature will be an L.A. teachers’ strike affecting 640,000 students in the wildly insolvent Los Angeles Unified School District.

Teacher union contributions to federal and state political campaigns rose from $4.3 million in 2004 to $32 million in 2016, with 99 percent going to liberals and Democrats.

Their biggest 2018 election triumph came in California, where teacher unions, the largest contributor in almost every election, funded a Democrat “blue tsunami” that swept every state executive office, captured veto-proof majorities in both houses of the legislature, and flipped seven U.S. congressional seats.

Governor Gavin Newsom ran on a “cradle-to-career” public education agenda that promised to spend at least another $2.37 billion on education to expand prenatal care, introduce universal preschool for four-year-olds, start a college savings accounts for every kindergartner, and guarantee two years of free community college tuition.  California teacher unions rewarded Newsom’s union job expansion promises with $116,800 in campaign cash as his largest contributor.

But as soon as just three days after Newsom sworn in as governor, at least 27,267 of the L.A. Unified School District’s 33,500 teachers, nurses, counselors, and librarians will go on a strike.

California is America’s most unionized state, with about 2.5 million members, or 15.5 percent of the working population.  But despite their political clout, California unions in 2017 suffered their first decline in six years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The shrinking union membership is coming from the state and local government entities, where Democrat politicians have signed blanket employee contracts.  LAUSD full-time teachers make $89,000 per year, about 25 percent more than the $71,666 state average.  But 4 percent, for religious, or just broke Millennial reasons, refused to pay United Teachers of Los Angeles’s $988.20 in union fees despite significantly coercive automatic deductions.

The number of these union “refuseniks” at UTLA is expected to skyrocket after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees on June 2018: “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.”

Most organizations would be expected to try to maximize membership by cutting dues.  But UTLA union president Alex Caputo-Pearl championed a 33-percent increase in union dues to offset the 25-percent decline in LAUSD students after parents of 245,000 students rebelled against a district where only 22 percent of 4th-graders test as proficient at math left the district or are now sending their children to non-union charter schools.

The reasons for UTLA to strike LAUSD are not about wage increases, an independent mediator found in December: “District offer of a 6% increase is warranted based on the comparative position of the bargaining unit in wages and benefits.”

UTLA is desperate to maintain its dwindling union membership by decreasing student-teacher ratio; adding more support staff; and prodding LAUSD to lobby Newsom and the state legislature to limit growth at charter schools, which already have long waiting lists.

But the L.A. school district, with a $7.5-billion budget, is already projecting deficits of $300 million in each of the next three years.  Declining enrollment, delayed facilities maintenance, and mandated special education increases are part of the problem.  The biggest challenge is a doubling of retirement contributions since 2013 to $350 million a year.  That works out to the equivalent of a $10,000 raise for every teacher.

The UTLA union bargaining agents claim that the deficit will be only about $100 million, because the “downsizing” of the number of students in public schools will end if the LAUSD reinvests in a better union contract.

To cover the loss of over 25,000 striking teachers, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s contingency plan calls for bringing in about 400 substitute teachers and reassigning 2,000 non-union employees with teaching credentials to classrooms.  It is unclear how the substitutes will handle classrooms with ten times the normal student-teacher ratio.

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.