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Teachers union demands raises as negotiations continue with Los Angeles Unified

United Teachers Los Angeles is putting pressure on Los Angeles Unified for a 20% pay raise over two years, smaller class sizes and more academic and mental health support for students. The teachers union supporters rallied across the district, including in front of Los Angeles Unified’s downtown headquarters Monday, where they shouted up to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to heed their requests. 

UTLA officials said their requests for a 20% raise across two years is fueled by their members’ burn-out worsened by the pandemic, teacher shortages and high cost of living. The union is also pushing to limit standardized testing, increase the number of nurses, librarians and counselors and reduce class sizes across the district. 

Speakers at the rallies, which included UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz and newly elected board member Rocio Rivas, focused on LAUSD’s $3.4 billion in reserves as evidence the district could afford the raises and other measures now.  The most recent contract expired in June and negotiations resumed this school year after a summer hiatus. 

“If you want to contract by the end of the year we’ve got to turn up the heat right now,” Myart-Cruz shouted to the crowd gathered in front of LAUSD’s headquarters. “We’re gonna tell Carvalho and every district official, they better come back to the table in January and be ready to rock and roll.”

District officials have voiced concern over potential difficulties as the state estimates a $25-billion deficit next year. LAUSD is currently using one-time state and federal Covid relief funds, but those funds will soon end.

As negotiations continue, LAUSD said it is working with its labor partners to move forward with their contracts.

“Los Angeles Unified continues to meet with our labor partners regularly,” the district said in a statement. “We respect and acknowledge the dedication of our employees and the need to compensate them fairly in this current economic environment. We remain dedicated to avoiding protracted negotiations to keep the focus on our students and student achievement.”