Los Angeles Teachers Union to Boycott First of Four Extra School Days

Los Angeles Teachers Union to Boycott First of Four Extra School Days
Striking teachers and their supporters rally on the second day of the teachers' strike in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 2019. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Micaela Ricaforte

A union representing teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is going to boycott the district’s first of four optional instruction days, which its members said were added to this school year without labor negotiation.

The United Teachers Los Angeles announced Aug. 26 that 93 percent of its more than 34,000 members voted in support of the boycott. The union will hold a rally on Oct. 19 calling on the district to compromise.

“The district chose to add these ‘accelerated days’ … without consulting with parents, teachers or other school workers,” union officials said in a statement.

The four additional days will take place on four Wednesdays—Oct. 19, Dec. 7, March 15, 2023, and April 19, 2023—according to district officials.

The district’s school board approved in April adding four days to help students who are still catching up on learning while emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. The board also added three optional days—Aug. 9, 10, and 11—for employees’ “professional development.”

The cost for adding the seven days is estimated to be $122 million, which includes $52 million for employees to attend the paid learning days, which most teachers voluntarily joined in the past, an LAUSD spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

Calling the budget a “waste of taxpayer dollars” that “prioritizes optics over student needs,” the union stated that the money should go into “services and staff roles proven to have a long-term positive impact on student learning and career outcomes,” such as “ensuring every school site has a nurse on staff every day.”

According to the union, 80 percent of LAUSD schools don’t have a full-time nurse, and 15 percent of schools in South Los Angeles don’t have a nurse.

An LAUSD spokesperson said in an email that the district is currently negotiating with the union and will meet its representatives again soon after Labor Day.

“LA Unified ... looks forward to reaching a fair and timely agreement that ultimately benefits both students and educators,” the spokesperson said.

Adding optional instruction days was the best use of the district’s additional state and federal funding this year, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said during an April 26 board meeting.

Because the funding is not permanent, he said, it cannot be used to hire more staff as the union suggested.

He said the extra days will provide “a deep level of supplemental academic support for our students who need it the most—students who have lost the most ground, students in foster care, students with English language limitations or one or more disabilities.”

Earlier this month, the union filed an unfair labor practice complaint alleging that the district violated the Educational Employment Relations Act by announcing the extra days without notifying the union or providing an opportunity for its members to negotiate when making significant changes to employee calendars.

The complaint will be reviewed by the California Public Employment Relations Board to determine whether the district violated a statute.

If the board determines there has been a violation, it will help the two sides reach an agreement—or a settlement—through an informal meeting.

Last school year, the union negotiated with the district to extend COVID-19 measures at schools such as continued testing and masking, and to add a five percent pay raise and other benefits for its members.