On February 22, 2019, nearly 200 union and community activists from across the country joined a webinar to learn from the United Teachers of Los Angeles and their community partners about their multi-year campaign and 6-stay strike that won huge victories for educators and the broader community. CIWO Executive Director Marilyn Sneiderman opened the webinar that featured President of UTLA Alex Caputo-Pearl, co-executive director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Amy Schur, Marshé Doss with the Schools LA Students Deserve, Parent Ruby Gordillo and activist with Reclaim Our Schools LA , and Rudy Gonzalves from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, and AFT National President Randi Weingarten who shared strategies and lessons from this ‘common good’ campaign.
After years of intensive internal organizing, ongoing conversations and input from the community, and a massive 6-day strike, UTLA won an incredible set of contract victories. In addition to bread and butter wage and healthcare improvements, they won a series of ‘Common Good’ demands including smaller class size, improvements to the learning environment, resources for immigrant families, a call for a moratorium on charter schools, increased green spaces on campus, additional counselors, nurses and librarians, and an end to discriminatory searches of students. In addition to winning for Los Angeles, the UTLA's strike provided inspiration for advocates of public education from across the country.
The webinar was co-sponsored by the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) at the School of Management & Labor Relations at Rutgers University, the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE), the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (ACCE).
“UTLA is part of a growing national movement that is centered on the idea of bargaining for the common good. By the time we get to the bargaining table, we’re taking demands and proposals that have come out of months of working with community organizations, youth, and parents, and that bring to light things that are not typical, mandatory subjects of bargaining.”
- UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl