Sunday, December 2, 2018

Solidarity with #UTLAStrong!



 Things are heating up in Los Angeles...and we are paying close attention!
We have mentioning the contract campaign that UTLA has been running since we first spoke with UTLA leadership this summer. What first sparked our interest in this contract campaign was how UTLA went about developing the demands for their contract proposals. The development of their demands was done with the inclusion of what community members wanted to see in Los Angeles schools, not just salary and benefit demands. Utilizing what is known as bargaining for the common good, LA brought forth a list of contract demands that have not been seen in educational spaces in a long time.

To learn more about bargaining for the common good, check out this resource from Labor Notes! http://www.labornotes.org/2016/02/seven-steps-opening-bargaining
But the fight that Los Angeles is facing goes even deeper than just a contract battle. UTLA is standing up against strong forces that are working hard to take over the school district. Led by millionaire superintendent Austin Beutner, a portfolio model is being pushed into Los Angeles Unified School District under the misleading campaign of “Great Public Schools Now.” But, as we have seen in other cities like Newark, Indianapolis, and New Orleans this is just a neoliberal reform that brings in charter schools, undermines union power, and reduces local control.
As we watch things roll out in Los Angeles, another notable thing is happening, educators all over California are rising to the call for solidarity.
Battles are also being fought in Oakland (Interesting how these fights are in large communities of color…) From OPEN; “After suffering 2 years of budget cuts and with almost 30% of Oakland's students now attending charter school's Oakland’s school board is poised to pass policies to initiate a new 5 year phase of mass school closures and another $30 million to next year’s budget. The plans show that almost all of the closures will will occur in East and West Oakland, and if fully implemented, will make Oakland a majority charter district. Millions of dollars are being cut from OUSD school budgets each year as charter school interests undermine Oakland's public schools.” https://www.facebook.com/OpenOakPublicEdNetwork/
Educators have realized that they are stronger when they fight together. Locals in California are meeting and coordinating actions strategically to fight against big billionaire money the only way they can, with feet on the ground and voices in the street. Check out California Educators Rising:
“California Educators Rising is a growing network led by rank-and-file public school union members in California. We’ve been inspired by the national movement of school workers fighting for the schools and funding our students deserve...We are building towards coordinated local, regional, and statewide actions to fight for the progressive and fully funded schools that our students deserve in all of California's 1,050 districts (#CA1050Strong). Join us to organize site-based solidarity actions of escalating intensity with Los Angeles (UTLA) and Oakland educators (OEA) in their contract campaigns and possible strikes this winter, with the goal of organizing escalating, coordinated, statewide actions aimed at increasing funding for California public schools and services, dramatically improving teaching and learning conditions, supplying additional support for schools and students of greatest need including wrap-around services provided by unionized public workers, and defending public education against privatization, austerity, attacks on unions, and other destructive policies, so our students and communities can thrive.”
California Educators Rising Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CAEducatorsRising/
California Educators Rising Twitter: https://twitter.com/CA1050strong
It is extremely important that we show UTLA, OEA and all California Educators, students, and communities that we stand with them as they fight for the schools that all children deserve! 
 There will be a day of action on December 15th, in both Los Angeles and Oakland. 
So, when you wear your #Red4Ed these next few weeks, grab some of your coworkers and grab some photos with a sign! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1blPX6BLgslBGkiPRtxV-pcRHS1K4Vw88/view?usp=sharing

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