BREAKING NEWS- United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) passed a dues increase that will significantly improve its financial position as it faces an onslaught by privatizers like Eli Broad with plans to draw half of the LA student population into for-profit charter schools in the next dozen years.
With more than 50% of the membership voting, it is one of the highest voter turnouts in UTLA’s history. UTLA members engaged in a mail-in-ballot vote over the last three weeks and the ballots were counted on Wednesday, Feb. 10. There were 16,045 ballots cast out of 31,563 that were mailed to members’ homes. The turnout for the previous three mail-in elections was 20-25%. The last mayoral election in Los Angeles brought out 23% of eligible voters.
“We are fighting back unaccountable billions from the privatization movement one educator at a time, by increasing our dues by $19 a month,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. “This vote sends a message to the privatizers and anti-union billionaires out there. Our members believe in funding the fight for our vision for the Schools LA Students Deserve—one that is built by educators, parents, students, and our communities, neighborhood by neighborhood, not funded by corporate special interests whose view of education reduces students to market shares and educators to human capital. ”
The ballot count was the culmination of months of dialogue among UTLA members about investing in our organization and taking on those who would privatize public education, such as Eli Broad and the Waltons of Walmart. They are some of the wealthy outsiders behind the scheme to dismantle L.A. public schools by rapidly expanding unregulated charter sites, among other initiatives that attack the concept of a strong public education, with access and equity for all.
Under the initiative that was approved, monthly dues for a full-time member will increase from $63.33 to $82.33 as of September 1, 2016.
Ballots were counted today at UTLA headquarters by an independent firm, Integrity Voting Systems, which conducted the vote. Ballots were mailed to members on January 15 and were due back by February 10.
Next week, UTLA will be building on our campaign for the Schools LA Students Deserve by participating in the National Walk-in to Reclaim our Schools. On February 17, teachers, other school staff, parents, and students at more than 160 local schools will “walk in” together at the start of the day to show support for the great things happening at their schools and to demand resources to make them even better. Our local action will link with walk-ins in more than 40 cities nationwide.
UTLA is the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union local, representing more than 35,000 teachers and health & human services professionals who work in the Los Angeles Unified School District and independent charters.