Los Angeles teachers OK contract, will end strike

California teachers reach deal to end strike

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles teachers have approved a contract deal between their union and school officials, ending a six-day strike in the nation’s second-largest district.

Although all votes haven’t been counted, the union said Tuesday evening that a “supermajority” of its 30,000 members voted in favor of the tentative agreement.

Educators will go back to work Wednesday morning. They walked off the job Jan. 14.

The agreement reached shortly before dawn Tuesday gives teachers a raise, additional support staff and smaller class sizes.

The Board of Education is expected to move quickly to ratify the deal.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, accompanied by leaders United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District, announced the agreement Tuesday morning at City Hall a few hours after a 21-hour bargaining session ended before dawn.

"I'm proud to announce that pending approval by the teachers represented by UTA and the educational professional and this Board of Education we have an agreement that will allow our teachers to go back to work on the campuses tomorrow," Garcetti said.

Talks resumed Thursday at Garcetti’s urging. The mayor does not have authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District but he sought to help both sides reach an agreement after nearly two years of fruitless talks that led to the walkout.

Clashes over pay, class sizes and support-staff levels in the district with 640,000 students led to its first strike in 30 years and prompted the staffing of classrooms with substitute teachers and administrators. It followed teacher walkouts in other states that emboldened organized labor.

The district maintained that the union's demands could bankrupt the school system, which is projecting a half-billion-dollar deficit this budget year and has billions obligated for pension payments and health coverage for retired teachers.

Negotiations broke down in December and started again this month. The union rejected a district offer on Jan. 11 to hire nearly 1,200 teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians and reduce class sizes by two students.

Teachers hoped to build on the “Red4Ed” movement that began last year in West Virginia and moved to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado and Washington state. It spread from conservative states with “right to work” laws that limit the ability to strike to the more liberal West Coast with strong unions.

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