United Teachers Los Angeles

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Full nameUnited Teachers Los Angeles
Members35,000 (2013)[1]
AffiliationCalifornia Federation of Teachers (AFT), California Teachers Association (NEA)
Key peopleAlex Caputo-Pearl, President

Cecily Myart-Cruz, UTLA/NEA VP

Betty Forrester, UTLA/AFT VP

Juan Ramirez, UTLA Elementary VP

Colleen Schwab, UTLA Secondary VP

Arlene Inouye, UTLA Treasurer

Daniel Barnhart, UTLA Secretary
Office location3303 Wilshire Blvd., 10th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90010

34°03′45″N 118°17′40″W / 34.062421°N 118.294575°W / 34.062421; -118.294575Coordinates: 34°03′45″N 118°17′40″W / 34.062421°N 118.294575°W / 34.062421; -118.294575
CountryUnited States

United Teachers Los Angeles is the main representative of certified, non-administrative staff in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Prior to 1970, primary and secondary school teachers in Los Angeles were chiefly represented by a local of the American Federation of Teachers (called the Los Angeles Teachers Alliance, LATA) and the Associated Classroom Teachers of Los Angeles (ACT-LA) which was affiliated to the National Education Association.[2] There were other smaller teachers unions active before 1970 that also merged into UTLA. Over a dozen different organizations merged to form UTLA.

The first broad federation of Los Angeles School District teachers was the Affiliated Teacher Organizations of Los Angeles, formed between 1930 and 1932.

UTLA is very active in the political sphere of California, especially since Proposition 13, which severely limited the amount that public schools can receive from property taxes. This shifted the burden to the state and increased the competition between state funded groups. The union has also advocated strongly against school voucher programs and attempts to break up the school district.[3]

1989 strike[edit]

On May 30, 1989, approximately 20,000 UTLA members went out on strike for higher pay and more administrative control.[4] [5] [6] The strike lasted nine days starting on May 30, 1989. The months preceding the strike were highly contentious. Numerous negotiation tactics were deployed by both sides including teacher demonstrations, threats to withhold grades, threats to dock teacher pay and many hard fought court battles. Union demands included pay increases and better school conditions. Thousands of substitute teachers were mobilized in preparation for the strike, and teachers prepared by saving money to endure a long walk-out. Many of the city's 600 schools reportedly remained open but with lower attendance. The district reported that 8,642 teachers crossed picket lines, and public rhetoric by both sides was critical and intense. [7] After negotiations, a settlement was reached and a three-year contract produced. Both sides claimed victory. Despite successful teacher pay raises obtained in the settlement, a massive economic recession in 1990 caused negotiations in 1991 to focus on preventing massive layoffs due to hundreds of millions in budget deficits.[5] Salaries were cut to avoid layoffs, ameliorating the positive results of the 1989 strike.

2019 strike[edit]

In September of 2018, 98% of UTLA members authorized a strike over numerous disputes and a failure of months of contract negotiations. These included familiar issues such as salary increases and classroom size reduction. However, a new issue also predominated the discussions -- i.e., authority and control over the proliferation of charter schools.[8] Fact-finding efforts took several months, but resulted in a ruling stating that the union had not bargained in good faith on several of the non-pay related matters.[9][10]. The fact-finding report failed to resolve matters and UTLA stated that a strike would proceed on January 10, 2019.[11]

On January 14, 2019, 30,000 teachers walked out in what was the first teacher's strike in Los Angeles since 1989.[12] The strike lasted six days.[13] Schools remained open, with substitute 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.[14]

UTLA and the school district reached a deal on January 22, 2019[15], after an all-night negotiating session on the sixth day. The agreement includes 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, a 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".[13] The deal also includes the establishment of 30 community schools around the district, modeled after similar programs in Cincinnati and Austin that seek to provide students with social services and learning experiences in the arts. The deal does not contain any binding agreements on charter schools, but it does include a non-binding resolution that calls on the state to establish a cap on charter schools.[13]


  1. ^ "About Us - UTLA". www.utla.net. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  2. ^ http://library.csun.edu/Collections/SCA/UAC/DFG/atola.html
  3. ^ "Azteca Channel 54 report in Spanish on UTLA bus tour April 14, 2015 - UTLA". www.utla.net. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  4. ^ Mydans, Seth; Times, Special To the New York (16 May 1989). "Teacher Strike Spreads Chaos In Los Angeles". Retrieved 23 January 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  5. ^ a b "History of UTLA - UTLA". www.utla.net. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Analysis of The 1989 Teacher Strike, Stephanie Clayton, Learning in L.A. Project, 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Antonucci: With a Los Angeles teacher strike approaching, some echoes resonate from 1989 - LA School Report". laschoolreport.com. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Possible LAUSD Strike Would Be First Since 1989 – Los Feliz Ledger". www.losfelizledger.com. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  9. ^ Stokes, Kyle. "We've Officially Moved Into The 'Fact-Finding' Phase Of A Possible LAUSD Teacher Strike". LAist. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  10. ^ "UTLA and LAUSD conclude fact-finding presentations - UTLA". www.utla.net. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  11. ^ Blume, Howard. "L.A. teachers strike appears more likely as a key report fails to bring the union and district together". latimes.com. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  12. ^ "LA Teachers Go On Strike For First Time In 30 Years". KCAL 9 Los Angeles. January 14, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Blume, Howard; Kohli, Sonali (22 January 2019). "LAUSD teachers' strike ends. Teachers to return to classrooms Wednesday". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.

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