Los Angeles socialists are helping a teachers’ union strike for massive raises to their six-figure salaries, saying the strike boosts their “Green New Deal” for public schools.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles is planning to strike for three days next week in an effort to transform city schools into a “green” social services hub. The Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America has identified the teachers’ plan as part of its “Green New Deal for L.A. Public Schools” and said it is the group’s priority agenda item for the year. But buried beneath the teachers’ sundry progressive demands is a 20 percent salary hike over two years for Los Angeles teachers, who on average make $159,000 per year.
The socialist-backed strike is the latest example of teachers’ unions harnessing allegedly high-minded progressive causes to wrest professional wins. As students languished under union-backed school closures during the pandemic, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten pushed to ditch standardized testing in the name of equity. Last summer, the president of the National Education Association said the union would lobby on transgender issues, abortion, and gun control alongside its fight against charter schools. The California teachers’ union is lobbying on gun control, flavored tobacco bans, and LGBT issues to shore up support from other powerful political groups.
The teachers’ union lifted elements of the DSA’s Green New Deal for schools, such as demands for free public transportation for students, “climate literacy” courses taught through a “racial justice lens,” campus parks, and more school solar panels. The teachers’ platform, titled “Beyond Recovery,” also seeks city rent controls, taxpayer-funded parental leave, subsidized housing on unused school property, smaller classrooms, and a crackdown on charter schools. The union is also demanding that administrators lobby the federal government to make COVID-19 funds permanent and the state to increase cash flow.
Los Angeles public school teachers earn an average per year of $159,000, including benefits, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of district salaries posted to Transparent California. That is well over twice the city’s average salary of $67,500. The strike would shut schools for three days in the state’s largest district, where kids are still reeling from learning losses and behavioral problems incurred during California’s longest-in-the-nation closures. Some 420,000 students would be affected.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles did not respond to the Free Beacon‘s request for comment. The Free Beacon was unable to find contact information for the DSA chapter.
The teachers’ union, which is coordinating its strike with the local SEIU chapter for low-wage school employees, has refused to engage in normal negotiations and isn’t budging from all its demands, according to district superintendent Alberto Carvalho. As he gave a press conference on Wednesday to promise to do everything he could to avert the strike, the Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America rallied with both unions to cheer them on.
“Socialists support public school workers!” the Los Angeles DSA chapter tweeted.
The massive pay increase seems to contradict the mantra of the teachers’ socialist backers, who “believe that working people should run both the economy and society … to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few.”
The antics by the unions and their socialist allies follow a mass exodus from Los Angeles schools. About 20,000 students dropped out or moved to different schools to escape forced remote learning. Los Angeles school officials foresee more dwindling to come—and a corresponding hit to their budgets. Enrollment will likely shrink by nearly 30 percent by 2030, according to projections.