We will not tolerate dictatorship by a class of labor bureaucrats in our union! Any and all undemocratic practices such as rushed votes, patronage to political supporters, buried or denied motions, and secret election processes will be rooted out. Rank and file members should direct the board and the president, not the other way around.
The Rushed Vote
Thousands were disappointed that our momentous strike fizzled out with an anticlimactic deal in which our members had virtually no time to consider, and in which they were only presented with partial information on which to vote. Members should always have a minimum of 24 hours to review any contract before voting on it. We meet around the city with community, talk about it, and vote when we are ready. It was egregious for the 7 officers to say they along with the board could have accepted the deal with no vote by the rank and file.
Secret election process
In the 2019-2020 UTLA calendar there is NO date given for these elections or timeline and procedures for nominations. In the section entitled YOU ARE UTLA there is mention of yearly elections for chapter chair, and House of Reps but again NO mention of the city officer elections for three year terms. “You are UTLA unless you want to hold a top leadership position.”
A June email sent to members does publicize the upcoming officer elections, with changes to the process. A timeline is given for those to announce between August 19th and November 7th. UP had the privilege of announcing at the leadership conference before these changes were publicized. Also a new ten day vetting process has been instituted. The UTLA constitution says any LAUSD teacher with two years good standing can run. It is a mystery what other requirements have been made in this vetting process. Members have a right to know exactly what exactly the criteria is.
Rank and File Driven Union
The Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE LA) is fighting for a more democratic union, in which rank and file members have more of a say in in decisions made by UTLA. Rank and file members are what made the strike in 2019 successful and those of us working on the ground at school sites in our classrooms, counseling and nurses offices, and libraries are what is going to win the battle for public education in Los Angeles. CORE represents the educators who work for the students of Los Angeles everyday and fights for the concerns and interests of children and the workers of LAUSD alike.
New Leadership from the Trenches
UTLA needs new leadership which is connected to the 33,000 members of our union. We need new leadership which has recent experience working with the students and the classrooms of Los Angeles and is responsive to the everyday concerns of our rank and file members. We need a new leadership that takes the grievance process seriously and is responsive to contract violations by administration at our school sites. We need a new leadership that values experiences of teachers by hiring staff that is knowledgeable of our contract. We need a new leadership that prioritizes hiring staff with teaching experience who can truly sympathize with the daily struggles of educators. UTLA should be a teacher union run by its members not by a top down leadership that does not value dissent.
Our union has been run by the same people for a long time. Instead of going back to the classroom and joining the rank and file of this union at school sites they are holding on to leadership and switching positions among themselves like a game of musical chairs after the terms in their current positions have ended. As leadership does this they have become more disconnected from the daily struggles of UTLA members. It is time for membership to stand up and demand a new generation of leaders guide our union.
Join Core! Let’s fight for a union that truly represents The Rank and File Members of UTLA!