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Teachers union — for now — has no plans to endorse Vladovic

Michael Janofsky | February 3, 2015

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Richard Vladovic

Richard Vladovic

The chairman of the the political action committee for the LA teachers union, UTLA, said today that, for now, the union has no plan to endorse Board President Richard Vladovic for reelection to the LA Unified District 7 board seat.

Marco Flores said the committee’s next meeting, tomorrow, does not include a recommendation to endorse Vladovic, although that could change.

“There is an expectation that eventually UTLA will endorse Vladovic,” he said, choosing his words carefully and declining to comment further.

A lack of an endorsement from the teachers, while likely not fatal to his reelection chances, would symbolize a major change in the union’s relations with Vladovic, who joined the board in 2007 and became its president six years later. He is facing two challengers in his bid for a third term although neither of them, Euna Anderson or Lydia Gutierrez, is likely to win the teachers stamp of approval.

Vladovic has been a relatively steady ally of UTLA in board votes, and the pronouncement that en endorsement might not be there yet could be viewed as leverage at a time the district immersed in negotiations with the union for a new teachers contract.

“There is some push back against him because, lately he’s been more of, well, he just runs the board meetings but doesn’t push the agenda we wish he would,” said a source close to the endorsement process. “If for some ungodly reason the race goes to a runoff, then we will be working on his behalf. But there is a lot of frustration within our membership toward him.”

Mike Trujillo, Vladovic’s political consultant, declined to comment on the union’s position.

Flores said the union also does not intend to endorse any candidates in the District 3 board primary, a decision that is far less surprising for the incumbent, Tamar Galatzan. She is facing five challengers in seeking a second term and has always been one of UTLA’s least favorite members of the board.

While the union typically endorses any teachers in a race, the decision to sit out the primary would deny backing to the one candidate who has has years of service as a public school instructor, Scott Schmerelson.

Flores said the PAC would consider supporting anyone who forces Galatzan into a runoff, which would be held in May. Only candidates who win a majority of votes can avoid a runoff.

Flores confirmed that the union has so far endorsed George McKenna in District 1 and Bennett Kayser in District 5. As “friendly incumbents,” they won union endorsements last November in Kayser’s case and last month in McKenna’s.

Kayser has two challengers for the District 5 seat; McKenna is running unopposed in District 1.

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