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By Dennis Romero
The Los Angeles teachers union declared Friday that contract negotiations were at an impasse, leading to the likelihood of a strike Monday.
“At the end of our session we declared impasse,” United Teachers Los Angeles secretary Arlene Inouye said Friday at a news conference.
Union president Alex Caputo-Pearl said that short of a sufficient offer over the weekend, “Get ready because come Monday, we will be on strike.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District tweeted, “We are extremely disappointed that UTLA has rejected @LASchools revised offer without proposing any counter offer. UTLA has refused to continue contract negotiations. More than 48 hours remain until Monday when UTLA plans to strike, and we implore UTLA to reconsider.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that he hopes both sides will continue talking.
“I am disappointed that today’s discussions have ended and I strongly urge both parties to consider returning to the negotiating table for talks over the weekend for the sake of our children, our teachers, and our schools,” he said.
The district offered a 6 percent raise retroactive to the last school year, as well as a cap on class size and additional staff, including nurses and counselors.
However, Caputo-Pearl said the contract offer was good for only a one-year term. And he said the district did not follow up on a promise to submit a report on how it would stabilize enrollment nor address the growth of charter schools, which are often non-union.
He called the independently operated campuses an “existential threat” to the UTLA.
Caputo-Pearl singled out district Superintendent Austin Beutner, a former investment banker and deputy mayor, for failing to show up at two of the last three bargaining sessions, including Friday’s negotiations. He said that while negotiations were being conducted Friday, Beutner was speaking at a news conference about the labor dispute.
Newly inaugurated Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget includes cash that could help the district meet the union’s demands, Caputo-Pearl said. Yet the district submitted “an inadequate proposal even though this new money is coming.”
“A strike is a last resort and we have reached that moment,” he said.