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Union President Volunteers for Pay Cut

Hillel Aron | April 24, 2013

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At last week’s monthly meeting of the UTLA House of Representatives, President Warren Fletcher made a surprising announcement: he’s taking a pay cut, effective July 1.

“Warren voluntarily took a pay cut to show solidarity with LAUSD teachers who have not had a raise in six years,” said UTLA spokesperson Suzanne Spurgeon in an email to LA School Report. She did not say how large the pay cut would be.

Sources within the teachers union said that with this announcement, Fletcher is also trying to “lead by example” as the union addresses a roughly $1.4 million budget gap.

UTLA will close the gap by dipping into its reserve fund and using roughly $300,000 from the interest of the “strike fund,” a pool of money that is kept around in case the union goes on strike. That move was also approved by the union’s governing body last week, according to a UTLA source.

Also last week, House members were asked to allow a $5-per-member dues increase to be put in front of the entire union membership to pay for the defense of housed teachers. But that motion failed to pass.

All elected union officers took an 8 percent pay cut shortly after their terms began in July of 2011.  Previously, some felt that UTLA officers “were living high on the hog,” according to one source within the union.

In addition, both Fletcher and Secretary David Lyell have foregone the use of the UTLA credit card.

A former cab driver who takes the bus to work, Fletcher has shown a strong preference for frugality in his nearly two years of leadership. He’s said to bring his own lunch to UTLA meetings, rather than ordering meals at the union’s expense.

Fletcher declined to comment or issue a statement.

According to Spurgeon, UTLA officers make the “high level for teachers,” which is around $90,000 a year.

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