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L.A. Teachers Strike Vote Passes — With 98 Percent Support

7:24 PM PDT on August 31, 2018

[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]os Angeles teachers now have the power to strike in their negotiations with the district over higher wages and smaller classroom sizes. In a Facebook Live press conference, United Teachers Los Angeles announced Friday the results of their week-long vote with an overwhelming 98 percent support for the strike.

More than 81 percent of UTLA's 35,000 members participated in the strike vote, according to Arlene Inouye, UTLA secretary. That's roughly 28,000 teachers across the district including a small charter school contingent. Ninety-eight percent of that represents nearly 27,700 "yes" votes.

"The energy and participation across the city has been electrifying," Inouye said. "The huge turnout show that educators in L.A. know what's on the line and are ready to take action."

The union must await the end of mediation before actually going on strike. But the "yes" vote gives it a powerful card in the negotiation. Sources in the union have consistently told L.A. Taco that a strike is likely to start as early as Oct. 3. The strike would be the first L.A. teachers strike in 30 years.

Negotiations this week took an ugly turn with both the union and the district filed complaints with California’s Public Employment Relations Board accusing one another of bad-faith negotiation tactics. Mayor Eric Garcetti even offered to step in and mediate at some point. The PER Board has set mediation for Sept. 27.

In a statement released Friday, the district said students would "bear the brunt" of the strike.  "We hope our shared responsibility to put students first will prevent a strike and lead to a common sense resolution that recognizes the hard work of our employees while addressing the safety and instructional needs of students and the financial solvency of L.A. Unified," the statement said.

In an robocall Friday night, obtained by L.A. Taco, Los Angeles Schools Superintendent Austin Beutner tells parents to visit LAUSD's "Just the Facts" website set up to counter UTLA's arguments. Then he tells them he wants to "keep labor discussions out of our schools so the focus can remain on our students." Listen to the call below.

RELATED: LAUSD and Union Exchange Accusations

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