Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Tens of thousands of Los Angeles teachers rallied in the city's downtown area Saturday, ahead of a possible strike. (Photo: /Twitter)

"It's About the Students!" 50,000 LA Teachers Join Protest, Accusing District of Hoarding Funds Instead of Investing in Schools

"The community is united behind a UTLA strike if that's what it takes to reinvest in public education instead of cut it to the bone."

Julia Conley

Los Angeles teachers set out to provide a "show of force" on Saturday, with tens of thousands rallying in the city's downtown area to illustrate the power in their numbers, ahead of a potential strike next month.

The city's teachers' union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), has been embroiled in contract negotiations with the school district for 18 months, with union leaders rejecting the district's latest offer of a three percent retroactive raise starting from July 2017. The teachers are demanding a 6.5 percent raise as well as smaller class sizes and more school support staff.

Carrying signs reading, "Stand with L.A. Teachers" and "Education is a human right," educators, parents, and students rallied at City Hall before joining the union's March for Public Education.

The union argues that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is flush with cash that could be used to provide teachers with raises in one of the country's most expensive cities, as well as hiring more support staff, nurses, and teachers to cut down on class size—which is at 45 students per class in some schools.

"Amidst the wealth of Los Angeles, we should not have class sizes of 45 students," UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl told the crowd.

"What we have in L.A. is a community uprising. If we strike, it is all of our strike. When we win, it is all of our victory." —UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl

"It's wrong that the District is hoarding $2 billion dollars when they say there's no money for the schools. It's wrong when community schools are starving and charter schools are expanding," American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten said.

In some schools, demonstrators argued, the district's refusal to staff the district properly has led to serious safety risks.

"There is not a nurse in every school every day. Some schools get a nurse one day a week if they're lucky," school nurse Stephanie Yellin-Mednick told the Associated Press. "There is simply not enough of us to take care of the kids."

LAUSD is the country's second-largest school district, serving more than 600,000 students. Teachers are threatening to strike next month if the school district doesn't meet their demands, providing more support for the city's school children.

The Los Angeles police estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 marched on Saturday, while organizers counted about 50,000 participants. The union applauded school communities for turning out to support the city's teachers.

"What we have in L.A. is a community uprising," Caputo-Pearl said. "If we strike, it is all of our strike. When we win, it is all of our victory."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

160 Patient Advocates Demand Medicare Negotiation in Build Back Better Package

"We're confident that inclusion of comprehensive drug pricing reforms in the reconciliation package will lower prices, save lives, and ensure continued development of innovative new drugs."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Cartoonish Level Corrupt': As Dems Fight for Bold Agenda, Sinema to Fundraise With Its Corporate Opponents

"Sinema is setting her political future on fire," said one Democratic organizer. "If she doesn't change course drastically and soon, it will be too late."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Momentous Win': Years of Local Opposition Defeats PennEast Pipeline

Opponents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey cheer "cancellation of this unneeded, dangerous fracked gas pipeline."

Jessica Corbett ·

Amid Calls for Closure, House Dems Urge NYC Officials to End 'Inhumane Conditions' at Rikers

A dozen prisoners have died this year alone at the notoriously violent and overcrowded jail complex.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Quite Literally What Instigated the Tunisian Revolution': Outrage After NYC Food Vendor's Stall 'Trashed'

"The abuse of street vendors will continue until there is legislative change, creating a pathway for New York City's smallest businesses to formalize."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo