Today, VICA President Stuart Waldman wrote to LA Unified Board Members and UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl to express the business community's strong concerns about potential strike action.
Download a pdf of the letter here.
Dear Los Angeles Unified School Board Members and President of the United Teachers of Los Angeles,
As the leading business advocacy organization in the San Fernando Valley, we work to protect, support, and hold accountable the public institutions that serve our community and the families that work for our businesses. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) ensures that the business perspective of the San Fernando Valley is heard to improve the quality of life of all Los Angeles residents.
VICA has been following the labor negotiations between Los Angeles Unified School District and UTLA. We are concerned with the direction of those negotiations and the possible impact on the communities of Los Angeles. We have long called on LA Unified leadership to manage its financial state of affairs more prudently, which is now on the brink of crisis. We know that this fiscal crisis is real, as has been pointed out by the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, and LAUSD’s own financial projections.
VICA urges LA Unified and UTLA to do everything possible to avoid a strike—kids should not have their education interrupted due to politics and bureaucracy. A strike will harm employees and children in our communities. When schools are not open, parents have to take days off from work, students miss learning opportunities, and even more our city is disrupted. Beyond hurting families, this strike hurts businesses and our communities.
As business leaders and advocates, we know the importance of treating labor fairly while maintaining fiscal solvency. We believe it is possible to do both. You know how to do this—the district has found that balance with five local unions and we urge you to take the same path to find a sensible, fiscally responsible middle ground. Both parties should be putting the needs of students first in these negotiations.
We know that our schools need more money and more support. As a community, we are ready to help you with that but we need you, as the leaders of our district, to avoid public fights, come to resolution, and work with the larger community to improve our city. There are tough choices that cannot wait—our children need us to move forward and put them first.
Thank you for considering our concerns. If our community of business leaders can be helpful please do not hesitate to call on us.
Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA)