LA teachers strike: Educators demand better conditions and pay | USA News

LA teachers strike: Educators demand better conditions and pay | USA News


More than 30,000 Los Angeles teachers demanding higher pay walked off the job in the second-largest US school system on Monday, leaving hundreds of thousands of students in limbo, union officials said.

About 640,000 students arriving on Monday for classes at some 900 campuses in the Los Angeles County School District were met by teachers carrying picket signs and rallying in the rain. 

The union wants a 6.5 percent pay rise, more librarians, counsellors and nurses on campuses, smaller class sizes and less testing, as well as a moratorium on new charter schools.

Weeks of ultimately failed negotiations led to the decision to the launch the district’s first teachers’ strike in 30 years. 



No formal talks were held over the weekend, dashing hopes of an 11th-hour deal between the teachers union and the school district.

Talks broke down on Friday when union bargaining chair Arlene Inouye said she and her fellow negotiators were “insulted” by the latest contract offer from district officials.

‘Set us up for failure’ 

Videos posted on Twitter by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), showed teachers and others marching with picket signs outside of a local public school chanting.

“You can’t put students first if you put teachers last,” the UTLA union posted on Twitter late on Sunday.

“When you cut our schools to the bone, you set us up for failure,” UTLA wrote on Twitter on Monday. “When you reinvest in our schools, we thrive.”

The strike has gained nationwide backing, including support from several unions, former teachers and labour rights advocates, the Los Angeles Times reported. 



Teachers and students protest and picket in the pouring rain [Barbara Davidson/Getty Images/AFP] 

A handful of celebrities and the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have also proclaimed their support for the historic strike. 

“We stand with our sisters and brothers from @UTLAnow as they fight for their students and schools,” the Maryland State Education Association wrote on Twitter. 

Classes for elementary, middle and high schools will continue through the strike, local media reported. Hundreds of substitute teachers have been hired and administrators have been reassigned. 

The strike follows a number of similar actions across the country last year in which teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma, among other states, launched strikes, walkouts and/or “sickouts” to call for education reform and better pay for teachers. 


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies





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