Time's Running Out To Prevent An LAUSD Teachers Strike

Members and supporters of United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing L.A. Unified School District teachers, wave signs during a demonstration along Firestone Boulevard in South Gate on Weds., Oct. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kyle Stokes/KPCC)

For the past five months, parents of the Los Angeles Unified School District's 480,000 students have nervously watched the drawn-out, halting and — so far — unsuccessful effort to head off a strike by the district's teachers union.

That effort is now very short on time.

On Monday, a panel of fact-finders will meet with LAUSD administrators and representatives for the union, United Teachers Los Angeles. Spokespeople for both organizations say it's possible the panel could ask the parties to meet again on Tuesday and Wednesday. (If you want to know exactly what "fact-finding" is, we break that down for you here.)

This all comes just ahead of a Dec. 14 deadline for the fact-finders to release a report outlining their recommendations for resolving the contract dispute. After that, nothing would legally prevent UTLA from asking its 30,000 members to walk off the job.

But the deadline isn't exactly firm. The two sides could agree to give the fact-finders more time or even return to the bargaining table after the report comes out.

As for those nervous parents, they can relax a bit: Dec. 14 is the Friday before LAUSD's three-week winter break — meaning even if UTLA were to call for a work stoppage after the fact-finder's report comes out, a strike would not affect students until January 2019.

Then again, there are reasons to be skeptical. Teachers have been working without a contract for more than a year, and negotiations failed in June after a year and a half of talks.

For a complete breakdown of the dispute — how the contract talks played out, the issues at hand and what parents can expect if a strike actually happens — check out our explainer here.


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