The UTLA Pay Raise Rally and Beyond: Harsh Realities and Challenges By Dr. John Fernandez

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(Mensaje se repite en Español)

The UTLA "It's About Time for a Raise" Rally--On November 13, 2013, I attended UTLA's "It's About Time for a Raise" Rally at the District headquarters. Although UTLA provided free transportation to and from the rally, and sent out robo calls and emails to UTLA members, only about 600 hundred teachers and community supporters showed up. In the November issue 15th issue of the United Teacher, UTLA president Warren Fletcher described the rally as a "powerful first step" towards obtaining a pay raise for teachers. Fletcher also emphasized and that teachers must be willing to engage in a series of escalating actions for a pay raise to occur. Clearly, after going seven years without a pay raise, teachers definitely deserve a raise.

But what was is so troubling about the pay raise rally was the low turnout by teachers. This clearly indicates a lack of interest and commitment on their part, even when it comes to something as serious as a pay raise.  Of course, UTLA's leadership was there: citywide officers, Board of Directors, House of Representatives, chapter chairs, and hundreds of proactive teachers. But, UTLA's membership is about 32,000. With such a low turnout, it would not surprise me if the District offers no pay raise at all.

Lack of teacher participation--The last major UTLA action prior to November 13, 2013, was held on May 14, 2013 at the Beaudry headquarters. That rally focused on lowering class size. It only drew about 350 teachers. Prior to the May 14, 20013 rally, a UTLA rally was held at Beaudry on March 13, 20012 in order to rescind RIF notices. It only drew about 500 teachers and supporters.  In addition, chapter chair attendance at the eight Area meetings has plummeted, especially in the East Area, where only about 40 percent of chapter chairs attend. UTLA chapter chairs are the back-bone of UTLA. Without essential chapter participation at Area meetings, teachers cannot be organized effectively at their work sites nor can they defend themselves adequately against contract violations and illegal District mandates. Thus, UTLA is currently functioning from a position of weakness because it has failed to effectively inform, motivate, and organize its members in the 786 traditional schools and centers throughout the District.  

 So what has led to this dismal situation and the apparent despair among so many teachers? And what must be done to rectify it? At first glance, it appears that this crisis has been caused by a combination of massive educational budget cuts combined with a series of UTLA losses to the District.

Massive budget cuts--From 2008 to 2012, devastating educational budget cuts occurred on the statewide and District levels. State funding for education suffered budget cuts of 16%. From about 2008 to 2012, 32,000 teachers lost their jobs in California--11 percent of the states' teacher workforce. From 2008 to 2012, there have been at least 10,000 teachers laid off from the LAUSD.  Moreover, UTLA members voted four times to accept pay cuts in the form of furlough days, which amounted to 16 days within the last five years. 

A series of UTLA losses--Victories by the District over UTLA have been numerous and continuous. UTLA defeats continue to mount. The most recent loss to the UTLA was when Supt. Deasy's contract was extended to 2016, despite a 91 percent no confidence vote by LAUSD teachers. What was so shocking and embarrassing about Supt. Deasy's recent contract renewal was that board members Zimmer and Kayser voted in favor renewing Deasy's contract. Zimmer and Kayser were heavily financed by UTLA. According to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, Zimmer was given about $397,000 in independent expenditures from UTLA for his reelection and Kayser was given a whopping $1.2 million in UTLA independent expenditures for his election in 2011.

Another humiliating defeat for UTLA was the $1-billion iPad fiasco promoted by Supt. Deasy to furnish each LAUSD student--about 650, 000 of them--with an Apple iPad at a cost of $678 each. Supt. Deasy promoted the $1-billion iPad project because electronic devices would be needed by students to take the new Common Core education standards tests online. The life-span of the Apple iPads is only about three years, while the District will have to fit the bill for the next 25-years. Bond construction monies will be used to fund the $1-billion iPad project. Although the iPad project is still being modified, delayed, and scrutinized because of the public's outrage, it will not be terminated.  After each current student is eventually given a District issued iPad, the District has not figured out how to pay for future iPad purchases. It could come out of the general fund and construction funds.  UTLA's lack of presence and opposition to the iPad fiasco has contributed to the encroachment of badly needed funds that must be used to construct new schools and modernize old ones.  Instead, massive amounts of money will now enrich giant corporations like Apple and Pearson to provide LAUSD students with over-priced electronic devices with little or no education value. 

Another major defeat for UTLA came at the hands of  was the Teacher Evaluation Agreement, which was signed-off by UTLA president Warren Fletcher and negotiated by AFT vice president Betty Forrester. Teachers were misled and rushed by the current UTLA citywide officers into approving an incomplete and deceptive agreement, which lacked specifics on implementation and had no set percentage for standardized student test data and other measures to evaluate teachers. As a result, school wide standardized test data and a host of other student data, like graduation rates, ELL reclassification rates, attendance rates, and student surveys will now count for 30 percent of a teacher's evaluation as directed by Supt. Deasy.

I strongly believe that the safety and protection of students at school is imperative. But scores of teachers are being falsely accused of misconduct and terminated on the basis of allegations. The constitutional rights of teachers are being circumvented. All LAUSD Teachers are in jeopardy of being accused of misconduct and housed in "teacher jails" based on allegations without evidence, due process, and without UTLA representation. In many instances, teachers are removed by from their schools and are not given the reasons or charges of their alleged misconduct. Teachers can languish in "teacher jails'' for years, without their cases being adjudicated, which forces many to resign or be terminated by the District. Even when cleared by the police, teachers are still being terminated by the District. This egregious behavior towards innocent teachers must stop. UTLA and president Fletcher must defend housed teachers by filing unfair labor charges against the District, by negotiating new language in the Contract to eliminate "teacher jail" and introducing new legislation to guarantee due process and a faster adjudication process for teachers accused of misconduct.

What must be done--UTLA must be restructured. Its current organizational structure is outdated and ineffective against the District. UTLA restructuring must include an organizing department, a parent community/alliance department, a research department, and an office of governmental relations/legislation department. A professional negotiator must also be hired.

The most important thing that must be done is for teachers not to reelect any of the current UTLA citywide officers. They represent the worst group of citywide UTLA officers in the history of UTLA. Their record speaks for itself. UTLA president Warren Fletcher in particular, must not be reelected. UTLA president Warren Fletcher more than anyone else, is responsible for turning UTLA into a fractured and dysfunctional union. He cannot lead, unite, or inspire teachers to fight against the District.  Warren Fletcher must go. New UTLA leadership must be elected that has a strategy to fight back against the District and a progressive vision for UTLA and the District.

 

Dr. John Fernandez taught at Roosevelt High School for 24-years. He served as a lead teacher and UTLA chapter chair at Roosevelt.  Dr. Fernandez was a former member of the UTLA Board of Directors and served on the UTLA House of Representatives.

If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch: 


Lenny@perdaily.com

En Español

El UTLA " Ya es hora para un Raise " Rally- El 13 de noviembre de 2013, asistí a UTLA de " Ya es hora para un Raise " Rally en la sede del distrito . Aunque UTLA proporciona transporte gratuito desde y hacia la manifestación, y envió llamadas robo y correos electrónicos a los miembros de UTLA , sólo alrededor de 600 cientos de maestros y partidarios de la comunidad se presentaron. En la edición de noviembre edición del 15 de los Estados Maestro , presidente de UTLA Warren Fletcher describió la manifestación como un "poderoso primer paso " hacia la obtención de un aumento de sueldo para los maestros. Fletcher también destacó y que los profesores deben estar dispuestos a participar en una serie de acciones para la escalada de un aumento de salario que se produzca. Es evidente que después de pasar siete años sin un aumento de sueldo , los maestros sin duda merecen un aumento de sueldo .

Pero lo que es tan preocupante sobre el rally aumento salarial fue la baja participación de los profesores . Esto indica claramente la falta de interés y compromiso por parte de ellos , incluso cuando se trata de algo tan serio como un aumento de sueldo . Por supuesto , el liderazgo de UTLA estaba allí : los funcionarios de toda la ciudad , Consejo de Administración , Cámara de Representantes , sillas de capítulos, y cientos de docentes proactivos . Pero , la membresía de UTLA se trata de 32.000 . Con una participación tan baja , no me sorprendería si el Distrito no ofrece ningún aumento de salario en absoluto.

La falta de participación - El profesor última acción importante UTLA previo al 13 de noviembre de 2013, se celebró el 14 de mayo de 2013 a la sede Beaudry . Esa manifestación se centró en la reducción de tamaño de la clase . Sólo atrajo a unos 350 profesores . Antes del 14 de mayo de 20013 de rally, un rally UTLA se celebró en Beaudry el 13 de marzo de 20012 , a fin de dejar sin efecto las notificaciones de RIF . Sólo atrajo a unos 500 profesores y colaboradores. Además, la asistencia capítulo silla en los ocho encuentros de la zona se ha desplomado , especialmente en el área del este , donde sólo el 40 por ciento de los presidentes de capítulos asistir. Capítulo sillas UTLA son la columna vertebral de UTLA . Sin la participación capítulo esencial en las reuniones de la zona , los maestros no pueden organizarse de manera efectiva en sus lugares de trabajo ni pueden defenderse adecuadamente contra violaciónes de contratos y mandatos del Distrito ilegales. Por lo tanto , UTLA funciona actualmente desde una posición de debilidad , ya que no ha informado de manera efectiva , motivar y organizar a sus miembros en las 786 escuelas y centros tradicionales de todo el Distrito.

 Entonces, ¿qué ha llevado a esta terrible situación y la aparente desesperación entre tantos maestros ? ¿Y qué hay que hacer para corregirlo ? A primera vista , parece que esta crisis ha sido causada por una combinación de recortes en el presupuesto de educación masivos combinados con una serie de pérdidas de UTLA al Distrito .

Recortes presupuestarios masivos - Desde 2008 hasta 2012 , devastadores recortes en el presupuesto de educación se produjeron en los niveles estatales y del Distrito. Los fondos estatales para la educación sufrió recortes presupuestarios del 16% . Desde aproximadamente 2008 hasta 2012 , 32.000 docentes han perdido sus puestos de trabajo en California - el 11 por ciento de la fuerza laboral docente de los estados. De 2008 a 2012, se han registrado al menos 10.000 maestros despedidos del LAUSD. Por otra parte , los miembros de UTLA votaron cuatro veces a aceptar recortes salariales en forma de días de descanso , que ascendieron a 16 días en los últimos cinco años.

Una serie de UTLA pérdidas: Victorias por el Distrito sobre UTLA han sido numerosas y continuas. Derrotas UTLA siguen aumentando . La pérdida más reciente a la UTLA fue cuando el Superintendente . El contrato de Deasy se extendió hasta el año 2016 , a pesar de un 91 por ciento sin voto de confianza por los profesores de LAUSD . ¿Qué era tan chocante y vergonzoso en Supt . Reciente renovación del contrato de Deasy fue que los miembros del consejo Zimmer y Kayser votaron a favor renovar el contrato de Deasy . Zimmer y Kayser fueron fuertemente financiados por UTLA . De acuerdo con la Comisión de Ética de Los Ángeles , Zimmer recibió aproximadamente $ 397,000 en gastos independientes de UTLA para su reelección y Kayser se le dio la friolera de $ 1,2 millones en UTLA gastos independientes para su elección en 2011 .

Otra derrota humillante para UTLA fue el iPad fiasco de $ 1 mil millones promovido por el Superintendente . Deasy de entregar a cada estudiante a cerca de 650 , 000 de ellos con un iPad de Apple , a un costo de $ 678 cada uno LAUSD. Superintendente . Deasy promovió el proyecto de iPad de $ 1 mil millones ya que los dispositivos electrónicos se necesitarían por los estudiantes a tomar las pruebas de nuevos estándares educativos básicos comunes en línea. La vida útil de los iPads de Apple es sólo alrededor de tres años, mientras que el Distrito tendrá que ajustarse a la ley para los próximos 25 años . Fondos de construcción de Bonos serán utilizados para financiar el proyecto del iPad de $ 1 mil millones. Aunque el proyecto de iPad todavía está siendo modificado , retrasado , y escrutó a causa de la indignación de la opinión pública , no se dará por terminado . Después de cada estudiante actual es finalmente dado un Distrito emitió iPad , el Distrito no ha encontrado la forma de pagar por las compras futuras del iPad. Podría salir de los fondos generales y de la construcción de fondos . Falta de presencia y oposición al fiasco iPad de UTLA ha contribuido a la invasión de los fondos tan necesarios que se deben utilizar para la construcción de nuevas escuelas y la modernización de las viejas. En lugar de ello , grandes cantidades de dinero ahora enriquecerán las corporaciones gigantes como Apple y Pearson proporcionar a los estudiantes del LAUSD con más de precio de los dispositivos electrónicos con poco o ningún valor educativo.

Otra derrota para UTLA llegó a manos de fue el Acuerdo de Evaluación Docente , que fue firmado -off por el presidente de UTLA Warren Fletcher y negociado por el vicepresidente AFT Betty Forrester . Los maestros fueron engañados y se lanzaron por los funcionarios actuales de toda la ciudad de UTLA a aprobar un acuerdo incompleto y engañoso , que carecía de detalles sobre la aplicación y no tenía ningún porcentaje establecido para los datos de los exámenes estandarizados y otras medidas para evaluar a los maestros . Como resultado, toda la prueba estandarizada de datos de la escuela y una serie de otros datos de los estudiantes , al igual que las tasas de graduación , tasas de reclasificación ELL, las tasas de asistencia y encuestas estudiantiles ahora contará para el 30 por ciento de la evaluación de un maestro como dirigido por el Superintendente . Deasy .

Creo firmemente que la seguridad y la protección de los estudiantes en la escuela es imprescindible. Pero decenas de maestros están siendo falsamente acusados ​​de mala conducta y se terminan sobre la base de acusaciones. Los derechos constitucionales de los maestros se están eludiendo . Todos los maestros del LAUSD están en peligro de ser acusados ​​de mala conducta y alojados en "cárceles de maestros ", basada en acusaciones sin pruebas , el debido proceso y sin representación UTLA . En muchos casos, los maestros se eliminan mediante de sus escuelas y no se dan las razones o las acusaciones de su presunta mala conducta . Los profesores pueden languidecer en "cárceles de maestros '' durante años, sin que sus casos sean juzgados , lo que obliga a muchos a renunciar o ser terminado por el Distrito. Incluso cuando se anula por la policía , los maestros están siendo terminado en el Distrito. Este comportamiento atroz hacia los profesores inocentes debe parar. UTLA y presidente Fletcher deben defender los maestros colgados de la presentación de los cargos laborales injustas en contra del Distrito , mediante la negociación de un nuevo lenguaje en el Contrato para eliminar " la cárcel maestro " y la introducción de una nueva legislación para garantizar el debido proceso y un proceso de adjudicación más rápida para los profesores acusados ​​de mala conducta .

Lo que hay que hacer - UTLA debe ser reestructurado . Su estructura organizativa actual es anticuado e ineficaz contra el Distrito. Reestructuración UTLA debe incluir un departamento de organización , un departamento de la comunidad de padres / alianza , un departamento de investigación , y una oficina de departamento de relaciones gubernamentales / legislación. Un negociador profesional también debe ser contratado .

Lo más importante que debe hacerse es que los profesores no reelija a cualquiera de los funcionarios actuales de toda la ciudad de UTLA . Ellos representan el peor grupo de oficiales de UTLA en toda la ciudad en la historia de UTLA . Su historial habla por sí mismo. Presidente de UTLA Warren Fletcher , en particular , no debe ser reelegido. Presidente de UTLA Warren Fletcher más que cualquier otro, es responsable de convertir UTLA en una unión fracturadas y disfuncionales. Él no puede dar lugar , unir, o inspirar a los profesores para luchar en contra del Distrito . Warren Fletcher debe ir. La nueva dirección UTLA debe electo que tiene una estrategia para luchar contra el Distrito y una visión progresista de UTLA y el Distrito .

 

Dr. Juan Fernández impartió clases en la Escuela Secundaria Roosevelt durante 24 años . Se desempeñó como profesor de plomo y UTLA capítulo silla en Roosevelt. Dr. Fernández era un ex miembro de la Junta de Directores de UTLA y sirvió en la Cámara de Representantes de UTLA .

Si usted o alguien que usted conoce ha sido dirigida y están en proceso de ser despedidos y la necesidad de defensa legal , póngase en contacto :


Lenny@perdaily.com

17

12 2013

3 Comments

John, many of the things you say are so true, UTLA must be restructured into another entity. Any current officiers should not be retained. That means Warren and his ticket and also Alex Caputo-Pearl and his ticket. Two or three current officers are on his Union Power slate. Most importantly, we need a professional negotiator. More than one if possible. We need new legal representation and new union staff at the Wilshire building. The problem is all this top down decision making that makes you see the alignment of UTLA with the district. We need our own voice that is not congruent with that of the district.Where the real muscle in UTLA should be among its chapter chairs. If there is no collaboration between chapter chairs and the union, there is no organization. Parents need closer alignment with the chapter chairs, union. Teachers are disgusted by their lack of representation and until that is handled, participation and attendance at rallies, area meetings etc will decrease. I'm not supporting an election slate but I am advocating for a better, responsive union.

Paula, your response is an excellent example of a teacher who is informed and is an active participant in defending the rights of teachers and public education. Well informed and organized teachers have no limit of what they can accomplish. But they must get involved and be led by proactive leaders. It used to be that teachers felt all they had to do was pay their union dues and UTLA would protect them and represent their needs in terms of wages, working conditions, and health benefits. Those days are over. New leadership is definitely needed that is ready to confront the privatizers and union and District collaborators, and confront those that only care about keeping UTLA functioning at any cost. Look what the social workers did: They went out a few days and will receive a 6 percent raise and 450 social workers will be hired to reduce case loads. And they are public employees! UTLA,s contract ended in 2011! Do not be fooled by Fletcher and his talk about a strike. Fletcher is hoping that the District will give teachers a pay raise, or UTLA can score a victory in one of UTLA,s PERB complaints, like the teacher evaluation fiasco, or the issue of paying teachers their hourly pay for Common Core training prior to the UTLA elections, so he can get re-elected. If teachers accept a 2.5 to 3 percent percent raise, there is no way they will strike for reducing class size, eliminating teacher jail, or hiring RIF'd teachers. Contracts must be voted on that are complete and subject to negotiations. When was the last time Betty Forrester gave a negotiations report? Fletcher has mentioned escalating actions. I do not see any...do you? Like I mentioned before, Fletcher is a glorified parliamentarian who is running UTLA like a dictator. UTLA is so weak right now that the District may offer teachers nothing.

The clearly predictable failure of both the administrations of LAUSD and UTLA is founded on the same easily avoidable mistake: Teachers with little or no experience in business or law are running organizations that deal with billions of dollars. These ex-teachers have none of the skill sets necessary to effectively run these organizations in a manner that is not detrimental to both the students and teachers who have the misfortune to be under their uninformed control. And there is no mechanism to hold any of them accountable within this corrupt system.

In Germany, Finland, and other countries with excellent public education systems, while the structure of both the school districts and the teachers unions are set by the democratic voting of their respective constituencies, the implementation of these mandates is carried out by professionals who have the necessary skill sets to effectively implement them in a manner where rampant corruption and self-dealing is controlled by effective checks and balances.

In effective public education systems, the power is centered in the classroom under the authority of a superb-well-trained teacher who sets the curriculum with the support of both their district and union. In LAUSD, openly corrupt and blatantly incompetent administrators can use District assets to target good teachers without any concern that they will ever be held accountable for their immoral and illegal actions.

It is for this reason that I will continue to litigate against both LAUSD and UTLA until they are held accountable to an impartial and fair legal standard. There are several proactive actions you might take if you agree with me:

1. Write me in on your UTLA ballot for president. While me getting elected would be quite a long shot, it might just be the most effective use of your vote, if you want real change, since it is clear that none of the others running will give teachers and students anything but more of the same purposefully failed system;

2. Organize events to raise money to support the litigation we are presently bringing in both state and federal court. If you are paying over $60 a month for a union that does nothing to stop the targeting and removal of innocent teachers, why wouldn't you contribute $50 to those of us who will never back down to LAUSD and UTLA corruption and are trying to seek legal redress for LAUSD and UTLA outrageous behavior?

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