Los Angeles teachers' strike is over, agreement reached

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A deal was reached Tuesday between Los Angeles school officials and the teachers union that will allow educators to return to classrooms after a six-day strike against the nation's second-largest district, officials said.

Music and cheers broke out outside LA City Hall when the deal was announced.

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

Garcetti called the tentative deal a "historic agreement."

"I'm proud to announce that pending approval by the teachers represented by UTA and 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.

On Tuesday, teachers voted whether or not to approve the deal. Union President Alex Caputo-Pearl said at a Tuesday night press conference that the vast super-majority of teachers voted to approve the tentative agreement effectively ending the strike. Teachers will return to their classes on Wednesday.

"I'm delighted we've reached an agreement with UTLA that provides teachers with a well-deserved salary increase, that will reduce class size, and add more support to our students and educators in schools including librarians, nurses and counselors," said district Superintendent Austin Beutner.

FOX 11's Phil Shuman covered the story on Tuesday and says the new agreement will give teachers a 6% increase in salary, the school district's commitment to reduce class sizes, an increase in support services, and will also put more control in charters schools -- direct competitors to traditional LAUSD public schools.

Even California Gov. Gavin Newsom chimed in after hearing of an agreement being reached between the teachers' union and school district saying in a statement:

"I am glad that LAUSD and UTLA have come to an agreement, and I want to thank the thousands of dedicated teachers, parents and students who were powerfully demonstrating their passion for our public schools over the last 9 days. Increases in state funding are already translating into real progress for kids and classrooms, including investments in community schools. I look forward to working with the Legislature to provide flexibility for schools to hire more counselors and nurses and to better support our neediest kids, including those in special education." 

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.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.