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Los Angeles teachers could lose — rather than gain — money for their classrooms by going on strike this week, according to a report from Moody’s Investor Services.
Teachers might strike as soon as tomorrow, demanding pay raises, smaller class sizes, and more support staff. But doing so could disrupt the district’s place in California’s education-funding model, which doles out money proportional to the number of students. The result: teachers could get an unintended funding cut if the district doesn’t agree to concessions.
According to the report, teacher absences are likely to drive down student attendance in the Los Angeles Unified School District (when teachers don’t show up, neither do students). Because California uses average attendance to determine how many students attend each district — and therefore how much money they need — Los Angeles likely will receive less next year.
“The district is likely to lose some state revenues based upon lower [average daily attendance] and will also have to pay substitute teachers,” the report says. “The district ended fiscal 2018 with close to $2.4 billion in available net cash in its general fund, and the strike is unlikely to result in liquidity difficulties. It will, however, divert resources from classroom purposes.”
A legal dispute over whether teachers gave the district enough notice could push the strike back to Monday, although union leaders are confident it happen one way or another.
“There will be a strike,” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said Tuesday. “I think a strike is imminent now.”
The United Teachers Los Angeles said today that the teachers union would push back its strike date to Monday.
The union’s more than 30,000 members had been poised to walk out on Thursday. Union leaders said the decision was made because of uncertainty over how a legal dispute concerning whether the union gave enough notice to strike to the district would be resolved.
The Los Angeles district is the nation’s second largest, with 80 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.
“Although we believe we would ultimately prevail in court, for our members, our students, parents, and the community, absent an agreement we will plan to strike on Monday,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, the union president, in a statement.
The two sides were expected back at the bargaining table later today. The union and district leaders have clashed over issues such as teacher pay and funds to reduce classroom sizes.
Congressional Democrats on Wednesday unveiled The Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act, a set of proposals to bolster the nation’s labor laws in an election-year quest to recapture working-class voters.
The plan, which would tip the balance of power toward unions in a way not seen since the National Labor Relations Act became law in 1935, stands virtually no chance of passage in a Republican-controlled Congress. But Democrats framed it as an attempt to reconnect with voters attracted to the anti-establishment working-class messages of President Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“The Golden Era in America was defined by the existence of unions,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “Since then, unions have been under relentless attack by big corporate special interests backed by Congressional Republicans. If Mr. Trump truly wants to make America great again, he needs to start by protecting the American worker and disassembling the rigged system that undermines workers’ freedoms instead of empowering special interests and big corporations.”
The bill — sponsored by Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) — would overturn several Supreme Court decisions unfavorable to organized labor. It also would allow the National Labor Relations Board to level monetary penalties in excess of reimbursing back pay, and would hold corporate officers personally liable for labor violations.
The bill also would allow employees to bypass the NLRB altogether to resolve labor disputes, allowing them to sue employers in court.
The bill would overturn the recent Supreme Court ruling in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, which permitted employers to impose mandatory arbitration agreements on employees, and would pre-emptively reverse an anticipated Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that’s expected to outlaw “fair share” fees that public employee unions charge non-members to cover their share of collective bargaining costs.
The Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act protects the freedom to join a union by
(1) Bolstering Remedies and Punishing Violations of Workers’ Rights
(2) Strengthening Workers’ Freedom to Stand Together and Negotiate for Better Working Conditions
(3) Restoring Fairness to an Economy that is Rigged Against Workers
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the federal law that protects workers’ right to stand together and
negotiate with their employers, does not empower workers to enforce their labor rights in court or permit the
Board to assess monetary penalties that could deter and punish unlawful conduct, such as firing workers for
seeking a union or insisting on better working conditions. In response, the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act:
In the Supreme Court, in Congress, and in state legislatures, conservative ideologues have attacked workers’ rights
to stand together to improve their working conditions. In response, the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act:
Too often, greedy employers have exploited labor laws to deprive workers of their pay, benefits, and rights, and
the federal government does too little to ensure the contractors they hire with taxpayer funds are following labor
laws. In response, the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act: