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L.A. Teachers Strike Vote Update: LAUSD and Union Exchange Accusations as Voting Winds Down

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Los Angeles school district and teachers union lobbed accusations at one another this week as Mayor Eric Garcetti inserted himself into the fray, further ratcheting up tensions in the middle of the union’s strike authorization vote. If approved, L.A. Unified could see its first teachers strike in 30 years.

The Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday filed a complaint against the Los Angeles Teachers Union with the California’s Public Employment Relations Board for “bad faith” bargaining, accusing the union of a “take-it-or-leave it” style of negotiating and for "almost never compromising."

“UTLA openly talked about a strike long before the parties even began negotiations, let alone reached impasse,” the district’s lawyer, David Holmquist, said in a statement. “It is now conducting a strike vote even though the parties have not even held their first mediation session.”

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl (left) and L.A. schools superintendent Austin Beutner (right).
UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl (left) and L.A. schools superintendent Austin Beutner (right).

The district’s charge comes less than a day after the teachers union filed its own complaint with the state’s labor board, accusing the school district of unfair labor practices for “unlawful interference with the union’s strike authorization vote and for failure to provide key public information and financial documents as they relate to bargaining.”

The union also accused the district of threatening to leak “confidential personnel records” of UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl to public radio station KPCC before the strike-authorization.

RELATED: UTLA's Unfair Practice Charge as filed with the Public Employment Relations Board.

The alleged threat is bizarre, if true, as it appears the subject of those records was covered by The Los Angeles Times back in March 2014 and centered on Caputo-Pearl's campaigning for the position of UTLA president off-campus and during school time.

As if things couldn’t get any weirder, Mayor Garcetti involved himself into the mess, offering to mediate between the two sides, according to the Times. While School Superintendent Austin Beutner was reportedly receptive to the mayor’s involvement, the union responded coolly to mayoral mediation, reportedly saying: “At this point, UTLA believes the best way to get an agreement is through state mediation.”

The war of words is unfolding while thousands of the city’s teachers cast ballots on whether to authorize the union to strike, but what impact this back-and-forth will have, if any, remains to be seen. The votes get counted this Thursday.

RELATED: L.A. Teachers Will Vote On Authorizing Their First Strike In A Generation

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