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LA Teacher Union Leader Signals Possible Strike

 

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The new leader of the Los Angeles teachers union signaled a more militant stance toward the school district at a national  teachers union convention this weekend, including the possibility of a strike,  it was reported today.

Alex Caputo-Pearl, who took office July 1, characterized a work stoppage  as a potentially effective part of broader social action to benefit students  as well as their instructors, the Los Angeles Times reported. Hs remarks drew  cheers at the weekend convention of the American Federation of Teachers in  downtown L.A.

In an interview, L.A. schools Superintendent John Deasy also sought to  reach teachers, urging them to agree to terms similar to those achieved by  other employee unions in the nation's second-largest school system, according  to The Times. UTLA is seeking a 17.6 percent raise over several years.

Caputo-Pearl, 45, spoke at a Saturday-night panel with other teachers  union leaders, including Michael Mulgrew from New York City and Karen Lewis  from Chicago. Lewis, who sat to the right of Caputo-Pearl, led Chicago teachers  on a 2012 strike, an experience for which she was celebrated at the convention,  The Times reported.

The new L.A. union leader framed his remarks around defining ``social  movement unionism," which he said is ``explicit about fighting for racial and  social justice. It's explicit in fighting against privatization. It's explicit  in taking people on who need to be taken on, including a lot of Democrats."

He added, according to The Times: ``It's a unionism that is willing to  strike. It's a unionism that is willing to build to a strike and strike if  that's what we need to do." Caputo-Pearl added that he'd already advised  members by letter to begin putting aside savings for a possible strike.

He also announced a major internal reorganization within United Teachers  Los Angeles and signaled his intention to seek higher member dues to make the  union a more effective political force, The Times reported.

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