2019 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers' strike

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2019 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers' strike
Part of the 2018–19 education workers' strikes in the United States
DateJanuary 14–22, 2019 (2019-01-14 – 2019-01-22)
Resulted in
  • 6 percent pay raise
  • Reduction in class size by 4 students over three years
  • Guaranteed nurse in every school
  • Guaranteed librarian for all middle and high schools
  • Establishment of 30 community schools
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
Randi Weingarten
Lily García
Alex Caputo-Pearl
Eric Garcetti
Mike Feuer
Ron Galperin
Austin Beutner
30,000 teachers

More than 30,000 public-school teachers of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) went on strike from January 14 to 22, 2019.[1] Protesting low pay, large class sizes, inadequate support staffs of nurses and librarians, and the proliferation of charter schools, the teachers went on strike for the first time in the district in 30 years. The strike was authorized by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).


In September 2018, 98% of UTLA union members authorized a strike over numerous disputes and a failure of months of contract negotiations.

Dec. 15, 2018. UTLA Pre-Strike Rally, Downtown, Los Angeles.

Demands included familiar issues such as salary increases and classroom size reduction, though a new issue predominated the discussions: the authority and control over the proliferation of charter schools.[2] The fact-finding report failed to resolve matters; UTLA stated that a strike would proceed on January 10, 2019.[3]

Strike and negotiations[edit]

On January 14, 2019, 30,000 teachers walked out in what was the first teacher's strike in Los Angeles since 1989.[4] The strike lasted six days.[1]

UTLA teachers march through 3rd Street tunnel to LAUSD headquarters. 1/14/19

Schools remained open, with replacement teachers and administrative staff filling in for the striking teachers, but school attendance was estimated to have dropped to less than half during the strike. Teachers and their supporters held rallies around the city, including at City Hall and LAUSD headquarters.[5]

(Jan., 17, 2019) On Day 4 of the UTLA strike, Venice HS teachers walk the picket line in the rain. Photo credit: Mike Chickey.
Jan. 15, 2019, Little Tokyo. UTLA rally on the second day of the strike. Photo credit: Mike Chickey.
(Jan. 14, 2019, Downtown LA). Rallying in the rain on the 1st day of the UTLA strike. Photo credit: Mike Chickey.
Day 1, Jan. 14, 2019. UTLA teachers converge in downtown, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Mike Chickey

UTLA and LAUSD reached a deal on January 22, 2019,[6] after an all-night negotiating session.

(Jan. 22, 2019, Downtown, LA) With the strike over, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl and union officers thank strikers and supporters. Photo credit: Mike Chickey
(Jan. 22, 2019, Downtown, LA). UTLA teachers celebrate the end of their strike. Photo credit: Mike Chickey

The agreement included a 6 percent pay raise for teachers, a reduction in class size by 4 students per class for grades four through 12 over the course of three years, the removal of a provision that had previously allowed larger class sizes during times of economic hardship, and a "commitment to provide a full-time nurse in every school" as well as a librarian for every middle and high school.[1] The deal also included the establishment of 30 community schools around the district, modeled after similar programs in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Austin, Texas, seeking to provide students with social services and learning experiences in the arts. The deal contained no binding agreements on charter schools, but it did include a non-binding resolution calling on the state to establish a cap on charter schools.[1]

Post-Strike Successes: Legislative and Electoral[edit]

Following the strike, UTLA, together with the California Teachers Association, successfully lobbied California Governor Gavin Newsom to sign two bills into law to hold charter schools more accountable and to give school districts the power to deny charter authorizations. Senate Bill 126, previously vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown, requires charter schools to conduct open meetings, produce requested records under the California Public Records Act and avoid conflicts of interest in contracts. Assembly Bill 1505[7] empowers school districts to deny charter authorizations that might negatively impact the fiscal health of the district and to close charter schools that fail to adequately serve special education students. On the electoral front, in May, 2019, a few months after the strike, UTLA celebrated the overwhelming election of the union endorsed candidate, Jackie Goldberg, former LAUSD school board member and former assemblywoman, to represent District Five on the LAUSD school board, shifting the balance of power to support existing neighborhood schools.[8]


This was first teachers' strike in the LAUSD in 30 years.[9] The strike encouraged a walkout in Virginia, a longtime right-to-work state scheduled to begin on January 28, 2019 if the Virginia Education Association does not have their demands met by the Government of Virginia.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Blume, Howard; Kohli, Sonali (22 January 2019). "LAUSD teachers' strike ends. Teachers to return to classrooms Wednesday". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Possible LAUSD Strike Would Be First Since 1989, Los Feliz Ledger, Sarah Favot, September 27, 2018". Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  3. ^ L.A. teachers strike appears more likely as a key report fails to bring the union and district together, Howard Blume, December 18, 2018
  4. ^ "LA Teachers Go On Strike For First Time In 30 Years". KCAL 9 Los Angeles. January 14, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Silva, Daniella; Johnson, Alex (14 January 2019). "'Escalate, escalate, escalate': L.A. teachers' strike to head into its second day Tuesday". NBC News. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  6. ^ Medina, Jennifer; Goldstein, Dana (22 January 2019). "Los Angeles Teachers' Strike to End as Deal Is Reached". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Bill Text - AB-1505 Charter schools: petitions and renewals". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  8. ^ "Bill Text - SB-126 Charter schools". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  9. ^ "LA Teachers Go On Strike For First Time In 30 Years". KCAL 9 Los Angeles. January 14, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2019.