UCLA — It was about 3 a.m., UC-AFT President Mia McIver recalled, when negotiators for the University of California texted the administration’s “final offer.” McIver knew that all major contract issues, from job security to salary increases, were settled. She also knew that 6,500 lecturers were set to strike at all nine UC campuses in a few hours.
SUMMARY: UC-AFT reached a groundbreaking settlement with UC administration in the middle of the night. The planned two-day ULP strike has been called off. There will be noon rallies to celebrate today at all nine campuses.
* * * * *
Tenuous system torn apart by denial of three-year contracts to experienced teachers
Anger among lecturers at UC Davis finally boiled over at the end of the spring semester. On May 29 and 30, 2002, non-tenured faculty walked the picket line instead of teaching classes, and turned the campus entrance on A Street into an impromptu educational institution.
Update: The strike is called off after an agreement was reached in the early morning hours of November 17. See the news story.
Late Saturday night, the lecturers of the University Council-AFT announced that they have notified UC management that lecturers will take part in an unfair labor practice strike on November 17 and 18. This strike is about a pattern of bad faith bargaining and unfair labor practices committed by President Michael Drake’s administration.
Update: On June 1, UC-AFT members voted to authorize a strike, with a “strong majority” of nearly 7,000 members turning out for the vote, and 96% voting to authorize a systemwide strike should the UC Office of the President fail to meet UC-AFT’s collective bargaining demands.
Editor’s note: This essay was presented to CFT Convention on March 9, 2002. Because of Raoul Teilhet’s Parkinson’s disease, it was read by then-Vice President Greg Camacho-Light, a drama teacher from the Gilroy Federation of Teachers and Paraprofessionals. Gov. Gray Davis attended convention that day and officially named it Raoul Teilhet Day.
By Mia McIver, President UC-AFT
On May 16, the 24,000 workers of AFSCME 3299, the University of California’s largest employee union, conducted their fourth strike of the 2018-19 academic year.
FIRST PERSON | By Katharine Harer
I joined the picket lines in Oakland on three different mornings. On the first day of the strike, teachers brought a boom box and we danced and sang on the line. Another day, at a different school, a parent brought a folding table and fed us tangerines, string cheese, mountains of cinnamon and chocolate croissants and hot coffee.
UTLA’s fight to save public education resonated far and wide. Messages of solidarity and selfies of fist-pumping teachers poured in from Kentucky to Canada. Union locals across Los Angeles set up support networks for more than 200 LAUSD schools. For Writers Guild members, joining teachers on picket lines was an opportunity to pay back their mentors.
United Teachers Los Angeles has fought for nearly 50 years to give parents a greater voice in how their children’s schools are run. In recent years, UTLA stepped up its outreach by hiring community organizers, building coalitions, and working with supporters in changing neighborhoods.
Those efforts bore fruit in January, when thousands of parents joined teachers on picket lines across the 700-square-mile school district to fight for “the schools our students deserve.”
Manual Arts High School has a proud 109-year history. Alumni include painter Jackson Pollock, actor Paul Winfield, and tennis champion Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez. Former teacher Josh Pechthalt was shaped by – and has helped to reshape – the South L.A. fixture.
CFT President Josh Pechthalt was a student at Fairfax High in 1970, when United Teachers Los Angeles struck for nearly a month. He later taught social studies at Manual Arts High School for more than 20 years, and was on the front lines in 1989, when UTLA struck a second time.
During the strike, hundreds of retired L.A. teachers returned to their former schools to continue the fight for public education. One veteran of the two previous strikes said back then UTLA was up against an intransigent district, but didn’t have to face billionaires and unrestrained charter school growth.
UTLA-Retired is now mobilizing all its 4,300 members for the special election in March to fill a key seat on the LAUSD school board and tilt the balance away from a pro-charter majority.
Eight days after the six-day strike had ramped up public pressure, the Los Angeles Unified school board passed a groundbreaking resolution calling for a moratorium on new charters in the district until Sacramento completes a study of how their unchecked expansion has affected traditional schools. The district also made a significant investment in local community schools.
With a massive outpouring of community support, a new generation of teachers shut down the country’s second-largest school district in a fight for the future of public education. UTLA members launched their first strike in 30 years to deliver “the schools our kids deserve.”
A week later they were well on their way.
Yesterday the members of United Teachers of Los Angeles ratified their new contract, ending the six-day strike that has captivated the state and the nation, and paving the way for teachers to their classrooms this morning.
UPDATE: After the factfinding report was released on December 18, UTLA announced it will go on strike January 10.
A Red-for-Ed wave rolled through downtown Los Angeles on December 15 as tens of thousands of members and supporters of United Teachers Los Angeles protested large class sizes, low pay, over-testing, a shortage of school nurses and other support staff, and the unregulated growth of charter schools.
The faculty union at City College of San Francisco pulled off a one-day strike on April 27, despite the administration’s claim that the strike was illegal. To avert another strike, the college agreed to a union contract with substantial raises by July.
Rain, wind, and a four-hour round trip from her home could not keep English teacher Jessica Nelson away from City College of San Francisco to join a one-day strike on April 27, the first strike in the school’s history.
“I wanted to support my fellow faculty,” she said. “There’s a lack of respect for faculty here. That’s what led to this strike and all the time, energy and effort the union has put into it.”
I thought I knew what I was going to see and do in Chicago. I ended up being amazed and awed, and sometimes moved to tears, by the tremendous strides educators just like us were taking all around me.