Today (May 15th) is the day that teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (District) had originally planned to hold a one-day strike to protest layoffs and other budget-cutting proposals. On Tuesday, May 12th, the District successfully obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the strike.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) blamed the adverse court decision on a “notoriously anti-union Los Angeles Superior Court judge.” However, according to the LA Times, the court decision was based on the fact that the contract between the District and UTLA contains a no-strike clause. The court order also cited concerns about student health, safety and welfare. The fact the superior court issued a TRO enjoining the strike is interesting since—according to the UTLA website—PERB had denied the District’s request for injunctive relief.
[Note: I checked out the UTLA contract. It does indeed contain a clause prohibiting strikes and work stoppages during the term of the agreement, which does not expire until June 30, 2009. So maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me UTLA must have known from the beginning that they were on shaky legal grounds calling a strike.]
In the face of $1000 per person fines for violating the TRO, UTLA has cancelled the one-day strike and urged its members to report to work. Instead of a strike, UTLA plans to picket for one hour before school begins. According to a UTLA press release, “The pickets will be followed in the afternoon by civil disobedience at an undisclosed location and members converging on Beaudry, where we will bring the fight to Cortines’ and the School Board’s doorstep.” That should be interesting.