School & District Management

Members in Los Angeles Union Petition for Vote on Leadership Pact With Mayor

By Lesli A. Maxwell — August 08, 2006 2 min read

The battle over who should control the public schools in Los Angeles continues to escalate, with a group of teachers challenging their union leaders’ decision to support Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s bid to win some authority over schools.

Calling themselves the Coalition for Union Democracy, the teachers have successfully petitioned for a unionwide vote on the controversial matter. But any internal referendum—which is triggered by a petition signed by at least 500 members of the local—is not likely to happen before state lawmakers vote on the mayor’s bill.

The California legislature adjourns Aug. 31; union rules require a referendum to occur within 60 days of the submission of signatures.

Nearly 600 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District signed the petition to force a vote over Mr. Villaraigosa’s plan within the 47,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles, said Paul Huebner, the vice chairman of the union’s political action committee and a leading organizer of the coalition. UTLA is affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Mr. Huebner, a 2nd grade teacher, said he and his colleagues are upset that union leaders made a deal with the mayor without getting input from a broader range of members. They are urging the UTLA to schedule a vote before the legislature adjourns.

“Folks are very concerned that such a small number of people worked out this deal just before it was announced,” he said.

‘We Had to Act’

A.J. Duffy, UTLA’s president, doesn’t dispute that he decided to back Mr. Villaraigosa’s plan without consulting the rank and file. He said many teachers were probably surprised to hear of the agreement after months of fighting the mayor’s bid to gain complete control over the district. The agreement, struck in June, would allow the mayor to share authority with the elected school board and the superintendent. (“Power Over Curriculum at Heart of L.A. Deal,” July 26, 2006.)

“Ultimately, it would have been better to have a discussion with the various governing bodies before we signed on,” he said. “But this happened very quickly, we got a call, and we had to act. We didn’t want to not be at the table.”

The union’s House of Representatives met last month and voted 101-89 to support the mayor’s legislation, Mr. Duffy said.

But he the referendum would be beneficial. “It’s another opportunity to explain to the members what this compromise is all about.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 09, 2006 edition of Education Week as Members in Los Angeles Union Petition For Vote on Leadership Pact With Mayor

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Washington Data Processing Representative - (WAVA)
Tacoma, Washington, United States
K12 Inc.
Software Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Proposal Writer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
CCLC Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion New Resource Tracks School System Reopening
The Return to Learn Tracker identifies the current instructional model of all regular public school districts with three or more schools.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management San Francisco School Board Pauses Renaming 44 Schools, Promises to Consult Historians
The renaming of 44 schools in the San Francisco Unified School District is apparently being put on hold after intense blowback.
Greg Keraghosian
1 min read
A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco, on Dec. 17, 2020. The San Francisco Unified School District put the renaming of 44 schools, including Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, on hold after local and national blowback.
A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco, on Dec. 17, 2020. The San Francisco Unified School District put the renaming of 44 schools, including Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, on hold after local and national blowback.<br/><br/>
Jeff Chiu/AP
School & District Management Superintendent Who Led During COVID-19 School Shutdowns Gets Top Honors
Michelle Reid of Washington state's Northshore district, one of the very first to close schools last March, was named National Superintendent of the Year.
3 min read
Michelle Reid, superintendent of the Northshore district in Washington
Michelle Reid, the superintendent of the Northshore district in Washington, was named National Superintendent of the Year.
courtesy of AASA, the School Superintendents Association
School & District Management Is Lunchtime the 'Weak Link' in School Reopening Plans?
It's risky when students are inside and unmasked, experts say. Here are five ways to mitigate that risk and make in-school meals safer.
11 min read
Elementary students in Brownsville, Texas, eat a socially distanced lunch in the school cafeteria. Experts say there are ways to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 even when kids take their masks off to eat.
Elementary students in Brownsville, Texas, eat a socially distanced lunch in the school cafeteria. Experts say there are ways to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 when kids take their masks off to eat.
Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP