LA Teachers Union Approves a 21% Salary Increase in New Contract Agreement

Members of United Teachers Los Angeles approved a new contract with the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) that would give employees a 21%  salary increase, as both parties came to an agreement.

The agreement would raise the average teacher salary to $106,000, a 21% wage increase over three years.

UTLA, which represents more than 35,000 teachers, counselors, nurses, and librarians, voted with 94 percent approving the contract terms, which include raising salaries, reducing class sizes, and adding school staff over the next three years.

 The agreement requires LAUSD officials to provide continued support for students through attendance counselors, psychiatric social workers, and school psychologists—and limits class sizes for special education.

The contract also provides immigrant support and efforts to provide housing, both for union members and low-income families of students..

Epoch Times Photo
Los Angeles Unified School District workers and supporters rally in Los Angeles State Historic Park on the last day of a strike over a new contract in Los Angeles on March 23, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, acknowledges the impact of the pandemic and how it affected students and the lack of investments needed to provide quality education to students.

Myart-Cruz believes the new contract will set a national standard for all other educators to achieve livable wages and solidify an equitable future, where students are supported in a healthy learning environment.

“LAUSD now has an opportunity to become one of the most successful school districts in the country. We held the line during bargaining on a number of initiatives because educators are the experts on what has the ability to transform LAUSD into a more equitable environment that not only improves students’ learning but also the quality of life for LA families,” Myart-Cruz said in a statement.  “Smaller class sizes will give our kids the attention and care they require, and competitive salaries will ensure our schools can successfully hire, retain and develop successful teachers and educators to mold our young leaders of tomorrow.” 

In March, teachers went on a three-day strike, which kept thousands of students out of classes during that time. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said the delay in an agreement was disappointing and students needed to be back in the classroom, especially since the covid lockdowns had affected students’ academic progress.

“We’re talking about LAUSD employees that make very low wages and some of them are really struggling to meet their basic needs so you should know I have been deeply engaged with both the superintendent and the head of the union and I am hopeful that they will be able to come to a resolution very shortly,” Bass said in an interview with local abc7 news.

Bass said she’ll do whatever it takes to support the union’s negotiations with LAUSD to help get students and teachers back in the classroom, so parents can go back to work.

“Whatever it takes to bring both sides together to get resolution, that is what I’m going to do,” Bass added. “We can’t have the schools shut down. We went through how many months, how many years. Two years of schools being shut down. Kids need to be in school. Families need to be at work.”

District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho last month said he is grateful that UTLA reached an agreement with the district and will help teachers and employees feel more secure in choosing to work for the district.

“This agreement with UTLA is a necessary step not only to make Los Angeles Unified the district of choice for families but also the district of choice for teachers and employees,” Carvalho said in a statement. “I am grateful that we reached an agreement with UTLA in a manner that reflects the dedicated work of our employees, provides a better academic experience for our students and raises the standards of compensation in Los Angeles and across the country.”

The District and UTLA also agreed to reduce the class size of two students in all academic classes, grades TK-12, hire additional counselors to provide college counseling in all high schools with 900 or more students, and increase Professional Development through Banked Time Tuesdays every week at every school, the agreement states.

“We’re extremely proud of the progress we made and we sincerely hope school districts across the country are able to envision what’s possible when educators and student families are viewed as partners, not obstacles,” Myart-Cruz concluded.

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