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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

New agreement ends LA teacher strike

UTLA+bargaining+team
Via United Teachers Los Angeles
UTLA bargaining team

The high-profile six day teacher strike is over after teachers approved a new contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Teachers in the second-largest school district in the country were protesting oversized classes, low salaries and lack of funding for counselors, nurses and librarians. The strikes, organized by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union left schools scrambling to fill their places with substitute teachers and administrators as they decided to remain in operation throughout the strike, according to USA Today. UTLA succeeded in receiving a large part of their demands; the deal includes promises of fewer standardized tests and charter schools, a six percent pay raise, caps on class sizes, nurses for every school and librarians for every middle and high school.
The school district and union agree that funding is the problem: LAUSD maintains that they still do not know how they will finance the agreed-upon contract, according to the Associated Press. California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged the issue funding played in the strike in a statement released last week.
“Last week, I submitted a budget to the Legislature that would make the largest ever investment in K-12 education, help pay down billions in school district pension debt and provide substantial new funding for special education and early education,” Newsom said.
Across the nation, teacher strikes and walkouts have brought attention to the issue of school funding. From West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado and Washington state, educators have expressed similar frustrations but none on as large of a scale as in Los Angeles, where 640,000 students were affected, according to the Associated Press. When the negotiations came to a close — with the support of about 30,000 union members — and teachers agreed to return to work Wednesday, UTLA celebrated its victory.
“Together we said we deserve better, our students deserve better,” the union tweeted. “We must keep our expectations high and not let go of this moment, because the next struggle is right around the corner.”
Teachers in state with strong unions like California have experienced more success in having their demands met. In Texas, it is illegal for public school employees to strike, and the “right to work” law prohibits compulsory membership in labor unions. Interdisciplinary studies junior Courtney Wiederhold, is studying early childhood education and has been following news of the strike. Weiderhold said she was impressed by what she saw.
“It’s encouraging to see there are teachers out there who are willing to fight for the best education for their students,” Wiederhold said.
Though strike has ended, the conversation surrounding school funding and the rights of teachers is far from over. According to the Associated Press, teachers in Denver might go on strike starting Monday. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he sees the benefit the strike had in spurring the district to action.
“Today is a day full of good news,” Garcetti said at a press conference. “This is a good agreement, it is a historic agreement, it gets to lower class sizes, it gets to proper support staff. The strike is painful and had a cost. But there is no question to get here, the strike helped.”

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