Teachers union considers boycotting LAUSD’s voluntary learning day for students

UTLA demands that district negotiates with it first, before adding four days to year for students behind after pandemic

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The union representing Los Angeles Unified teachers is weighing whether to ask its members to boycott an extra day of work planned for October, in a dispute over whether district officials had the right to tack on four days of voluntary paid teaching aimed at helping children who fell behind during the coronavirus pandemic.

The so-called “Student Acceleration Days”, scheduled for four Wednesdays during the school year, are voluntary for both students and teachers, and are intended to help students who struggled academically during the pandemic to catch up.

Teachers aren’t required to work these days, and those who do will receive extra pay.

Despite the days being optional, United Teachers Los Angeles filed an unfair practice charge with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board this month, alleging the district was wrong to unilaterally alter the school calendar without first making a good-faith attempt to negotiate with the union.

The district said in a statement last week that the days are “purely optional” and would allow teachers “the opportunity to work with small groups of students who may need additional instruction” while receiving extra compensation. It further stated that it has and will continue to meet with the union.

Still, UTLA maintains that the extra days should have been negotiated since it impacts employees’ work volume and schedules. Adding the extra days means the school year will end four days later in June, the union has said.

On Friday, Aug. 12, the union sent a memo to its members, which the Los Angeles Daily News has reviewed, announcing it will poll its members next week about potentially boycotting the first of the four “acceleration” days, scheduled for Oct. 19.

Rather than encourage employees to work it, UTLA officials are considering calling a downtown rally for that day to promote the union’s “Beyond Recovery” platform, which lays out issues it wants to address in its current contract negotiations with the district.

The memo said UTLA’s bargaining team will continue to try and resolve the dispute with the district over the four extra days.

“However, if the district and (Superintendent Alberto) Carvalho proceed in unfairly implementing their new schedule, the UTLA Officers, Board of Directors, Bargaining Team, and Chapter Leaders who met at the Leadership Conference recommend that C-Basis employees unionwide boycott volunteering for October 19 and instead hold a rally downtown in support of the Beyond Recovery platform,” the union stated in the memo.

About 80% of UTLA members are classified as “C-Basis” employees, meaning they have the option of working on Oct. 19. If the union proceeds with the boycott, the other 20% of UTLA members who must work that day would be encouraged to pass out leaflets and engage in outreach with parents before and after school, according to the memo.

UTLA represents about 34,000 teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and other certificated employees.

Meanwhile, until decisions are firmed up regarding the boycott, the union is asking its members not to sign up to work the optional day in October.

“It is critical that you protect your right to boycott by NOT signing up to volunteer for October 19,” the memo stated.

The district, which did not respond to a request for comment about the potential boycott, has described the “acceleration” days, which will be structured differently from a regular school day, as opportunities for students to receive support to catch up and meet grade-level standards, earn a C or better in their courses, or to get ahead.

It’s unclear what would happen if few teachers volunteer to work these days.

Students who don’t attend the extra days may be dropped off on campus by their parents for daycare during the regular school hours.

UTLA has questioned whether the four days will do much to help students. Instead, the union has said that money being set aside for these four days would be better spent on reducing class sizes; hiring more counselors, psychiatric social workers and psychologists; and investing in teacher development.

Click here to read the full article in the Los Angeles Daily News


  1. Money follows the student is a must that will direct future policy…students not unions decides.

  2. So, is the UTLA for the teachers or students? Who wins. who loses?

  3. Who wins. who loses? Is the UTLA for the teachers or students?

  4. UTLA is for teachers, which is natural; but what is unnatural is its long history of actively harming students with its actions, instead of helping them. Therefore, families in Los Angeles remain well advised to walk away from UTLAUSD schools, and into private ones, wherever & whenever possible, which is why we Californians For School Choice tried to put an education savings account (ESA) initiative on this November’s ballot, and will try again in 2024, and are supporting Lance Christensen, another ESA supporter, for state superintendent this November. Los Angeles is a global giant, and California can’t afford to let that city continue to decline; and yet without a school system that doesn’t actually repel families that care about education from living there, its days of prosperity will remain largely in the past. Educational freedom is key to rectifying this situation, by enabling families unsatisfied by LA’s lousy public schooling, yet unable to afford private school tuition, to choose their children’s education provision in the same manner wealthy families do, and without having to uproot themselves from their local communities, which otherwise decay if the educationally aspirational families move, leaving the children of less informed parents behind.

    • Sarina Smith says

      Get rid of the unions! They served their purpose decades ago; now they are just a money laundering outfit! They even tell the POTUS what to do…and he DOES it!

  5. Public Service unions are unconstitutional. Government bureaucrats make all the private sector rules and regulations and additionally they have the power to make their own rules and regulations, with impunity. They can make or break the politicians that hire them.
    All one has to know is that under School Union control, America has fallen behind many third world education systems. Our kids are getting garbage instead of the grounding to prepare them for excelling in a free meritocracy.
    School choice is the answer. Competition for the parents tax dollar instead of seeking self serving omnipotent tenure. Charter schools will prevail only if the Unions are neutered.

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