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Teachers union revises wage demand to 10% raise for a year

Vanessa Romo | October 3, 2014

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teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsIn a surprising move in its contract negotiations with LA Unified, UTLA yesterday backed off its previous demand of a 17.6 percent pay raise over the next two years, to call for a bigger raise for one year, a 10 percent bump for 2014-15, with the expectation of re-opening salary negotiations next year.

The union’s new wage demand exceeds the district’s standing offer of a 6.64 percent salary increase over the next three years plus a one-time 2 percent bonus.

The union also asked for a $1,000 stipend for educators to buy school supplies and materials which are typically paid for out of pocket.

In the afternoon bargaining session, UTLA discussed its most comprehensive set of contract proposals with LA Unified, building on a growing list of demands since negotiations began in earnest in August.

The teachers union predicts its package of five proposals “is potentially groundbreaking in its impact on the national debate around school accountability.” If adopted, the initiatives would make “tremendous improvements to student learning environments and educator working conditions in the city of Los Angeles,” UTLA said in a statement.

The offer came as the fate of Superintendent John Deasy remained uncertain. Deasy leaves for South Korea next week and returns a few days before the school board is scheduled his annual performance review on Oct. 21. While the union plays no district role in Deasy’s employment status, it has been hammering him with criticism over his handling of the iPad and MiSiS programs and recently called on the school board to hold him “accountable.”

Other issues raised by UTLA included establishing maximums for class sizes, staffing levels, bolstering restorative justice programs, and improving charter school transparency.

Overall, it is the most detailed submission from the union to the district. Previous meetings have taken a macro approach to conversations concerning teacher rights, grievances and assignment rules.

But in a statement district officials said they are withholding comment on UTLA’s proposals “pending analysis of the legality, cost and feasibility.”

Instead, Vivian Ekchian, the district’s chief labor negotiator, touted the district’s offer to add more parents and community members to Local School Leadership Councils, which govern employee training, student schedules and parts of the school budget.

“This proposal assures clarity, consistency and coordination of effort and resources,” Ekchian said.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Oct. 9.

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