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UTLA could start another academic year without a contract

Vanessa Romo | May 6, 2014

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UTLA logoDespite a state budget deadline looming, it’s possible that LA Unified teachers will start yet another school year without a new contract.

The district’s proposed spending budget for 2014-15, which must be approved by the school board and submitted to the state by July, includes a line item for teacher raises that remains to be negotiated with UTLA, as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.

However, Vivian Ekchian, the district’s chief labor negotiator told LA School Report, “While it is a goal, it could turn out that we do not meet that deadline.”

“We will do our best to meet it and work with our parters,” she continued, “but it may not happen.”

The absence of significant progress on a new contract comes in the shadow of developments in New York City, where 110,000 members of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) last week agreed to an historic a nine-year contract, pending ratification, that includes raises of 1 to 3 percent over the next four years, two years of retroactive pay raises of 4 percent and a one-time bonus of $1,000.

The teachers there had been without a contract since 2009.

The UTLA bargaining committee met with district officials on April 22, but Ekchian reports nothing concrete was discussed.

“At this point we only know they want a 17.6 percent raise but we don’t know over how long. And other than that we don’t really know what else they want,” she said.

Unlike AALA, the administrators union, and the LA School Police Management Association (LASPMA), UTLA has not submitted an initial contract proposal. The next meeting between district and UTLA officials is expected in June.

Betty Forrester, a UTLA vice president who is the union’s chief labor negotiator, did not respond to an email message seeking comment. UTLA’s last contract with LA Unified expired in 2011, with the terms extending on a day-to-day basis.

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