PRESS RELEASE: FEBRUARY 20, 2023
UTLA’s PRESIDENT AND OFFICERS HAVE BROKEN OUR UNION
PRESS RELEASE: FEBRUARY 20, 2023
Los Angeles, February 20, 2023: “The current President and Officers of UTLA broke our Union. Let me say that again. The current president and officers of UTLA have broken our union, and they’ve kept members in the dark essentially locking most of us out. This is a form of massive voter suppression that typically causes 85% of members not to vote,” said Mr. Segal, an educator with nearly thirty years in LA’s public schools and union.
Recently, the UTLA president orchestrated a dramatic change to the UTLA Constitution many members don’t know about. The current president and officers of UTLA pushed through changes to the UTLA constitution that gives the Officers unlimited power by taking away the power of the members and their elected representatives on the House of Representatives to veto actions by the UTLA President. This power does not exist with any of the affiliated unions. The only power left to members is to vote them out of office by February 27, 2023.
Mr. Segal, an educator with nearly thirty years in LA’s public schools and union said, “What’s going on with UTLA today is not fair, it’s not just, and it’s not delivering results for our members who are struggling every day at our school sites with overcrowded classrooms, breaches of our contract rights, safety issues, and inadequate pay! And they have abandoned the members at the school sites. The current UTLA president got all school police removed from every secondary school without a vote of the members.”
Leonard Segal, candidate for the position of president of UTLA, the nation’s second-largest teacher’s union, is asking members to vote for him along with the entire slate of the United Team for Change. He says he represents a large segment of the union’s membership who are fed up with the way their union is being led.
“This is the worst, the most incompetent group of UTLA leaders and officers that I have seen in the 30 years I’ve been working with this union to advocate for and defend the rights of educators. They do not have the skills to run a $50 million a year union.” Strong words perhaps but given three decades of fighting in the trenches for union member’s rights, Mr. Segal says he’s seen and come to know some of the most successful UTLA presidents ever, and they approached the job far differently than this current president.
One of the problems with UTLA has been that past Officers knew how to get elected but didn’t have the ability to do the job they were elected for. Mr. Segal expressed great confidence in the United Team For Change, which he called the most competent slate of candidates he has seen in 30 years. It includes educators with backgrounds in finance, business, education, administration, negotiations, and union operations. Readers can learn more about their qualifications by visiting ut4c.com. The list of candidates includes Laura N. McCutcheon for NEA VP, Mark Muskrath for Secondary VP, Tracey Schroeder for Elementary VP, Soni Lloyd for AFT VP, Michele Middleton for Treasurer, Carrie Phu for Secretary, Gary Fraigun for Board of Director NEA Valley East, Lauren Gordon-Ruderman for Board Director NEA Valley East, Gilbert Gil for Director of Special Ed, David Riess & Monique Lukens for Director of Substitutes, and Angela Chavez for Board Director Harbor Area.
Mr. Segal says, “The union should model its behavior on the positive model its educators promote and expect from its students. Our public schools have a zero-bullying policy. Every day I work with students to stay positive and avoid bullying in our classrooms and on our school sites. So, it upsets me when I see at the top of UTLA is a top-down approach that’s so aggressive, many of our members feel they are being bullied and ostracized. That’s not who we are as a union. It saddens me to report that members have told me that they are afraid of the leadership of UTLA. They are afraid to share their views, and they are afraid to get on their bad side. That is not the way any union should operate. It should be open, inclusive, compassionate, and support all of our members!”
Mr. Segal and the members of his slate of candidates say their strong belief is that Los Angeles educators have done an incredibly difficult job under historically difficult circumstances, and they should be the most well-paid educators in this entire state.
The teachers of LAUSD are near the bottom of the rankings in pay of all the school districts in Los Angeles County. The members do not want to go on strike every three years in order to get the same cost of living raise they would have gotten without a strike. Some members saw a worse outcome after the strike. And other members have not gotten help with enforcing the new rights they won. Mr. Segal said, “There is no teacher shortage. There is only a shortage of educators willing to work for the inadequate pay and difficult work conditions that exist today. A professional salary will ensure members can afford to live in one of the most expensive cities in the nation.”
If members of UTLA vote before February the 27th to replace the current leaders, who his group contents are “failing our members miserably”, Mr. Segal plans to dramatically increase UTLA’s presence with the California legislature and use its power to put higher pay and stronger protections into the California Education Code. The union is caught up in a cycle of striking and demanding concessions the School Board can’t or won’t deliver on. Most of our funding comes from the state legislature and we should put our focus and efforts there, while we invest in ensuring we never lose our allies in the School Board” Segal said.
For release 5 pm February 20, 2023
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PRESS RELEASE: FEBRUARY 16, 2023
UTLA’s OFFICERS ARE BREAKING THEIR COMPACT WITH OUR MEMBERS
Los Angeles, February 16, 2023: Our teachers and other educators on our school sites are being left out, and poorly served by the current UTLA officers. Our members need to have the resources, significantly higher pay, and the support at their school sites to do what is an increasingly difficult and challenging job. They’re not being served well by our current union officers.
I know how this union is being misled and poorly run. And I want to tell you all about it. The great people who could make this union work well are being locked out of this union along with all the other members. We are all being silenced and many of us are fed up and ready for change.
The current leadership pushed through dramatic changes to our constitution that prevents members’ elected representatives and all members from being able to veto any decisions by the officers.
The only veto members have left is to vote by February 27th for new leadership in this election. If they want their union to be there for them, they need to vote for change.
When we make this union work the way it’s supposed to work, as a truly great labor service union, it will help teachers and all educators to enjoy their work, to have excellent professional pay for their work, and to be able to afford to live in this very expensive city of Los Angeles
When this union works the way it is supposed to work, members won’t have to go on costly strikes to try to achieve more pay.
The current UTLA president used valuable union time and money to lobby the School Board to defund the school police without consulting our members even though 60% of people said they wanted the school police on campus. She didn’t even bother to use that time and money to lobby the School Board to raise our pay.
UTLA’s current officers are engaged in a widespread voter suppression campaign and in my opinion, they don’t want you to vote! They suppress our member’s votes by making sure they don’t understand how our union works and what its’ officers are doing.
For example, they have stopped the United Teacher newspaper which was a vital communication tool to keep our members informed.
They deleted the archives of the United Teacher’s newspaper from our UTLA website, essentially erasing our history.
They replaced our history on our website with a timeline of union strikes because that’s the one tool for change they know. If all you have is a hammer as the saying goes, every problem looks like a nail.
My father used to tell me, “Son, if you find that something is stuck, don’t force it. You will likely break it. Instead, try to figure out where it is stuck and find the right leverage!”
If members want to stop having to go on costly strikes every three years for little or no gain, everyone needs to go to our UTLA online voting website and cast a vote for the United Team For Change that offers a comprehensive alternative of competent officers.
After being in power for ten years, the current officers still having eighty-five pages of unresolved contract demands and having to resort to a strike is a clearcut failure of leadership
When this union works the way it should, members will not have to take on gig work or worry about a second job or their retirement.
We can make this union work well for every member again but we need members to show up before February 27th and vote for the United Team For Change candidates.
A new leadership team will focus on respect for every member, the highest statewide salaries, and the freedom to teach and serve their students and schools in the best way they know how.
That’s what a great union should be achieving. This union can do this if U T L.A. was truly open to all of the members. If it worked the way it was supposed to, if the people running it followed the rules, and regulations, and constitution that we democratically created together.
I’m going to tell you about how our current officers at UTLA are failing us, and how it’s costing our teachers and other educators. Their mistakes are costing members the rewarding, enjoyable job and career that they signed up for!
Their mismanagement of this union is costing members the opportunity to have a job, and a career that is not totally without stress, but is enjoyable, and is rewarding in all the ways that matter to members.
I know how we can achieve this and get the resources and results we all need. After nearly 30 years of being in the trenches fighting for members’ rights, nobody understands how this union is supposed to work better than I do.
So that is what I want to tell you about. That’s why I am so fired up. And why I want to be the next president of this great union!
I am certain that we have the ability to reshape the future of public education in Los Angeles in ways that will not only dramatically improve our careers today but will build a foundation of astounding progress in the years to come. I truly hope every member reading this takes action right now to vote. One thing I’ve become crystal clear on over the adult years of my life is that when more people vote, our lives get better.
Every person on our slate of candidates is qualified for the jobs they are running for. Our officer candidates have business, finance, administrative, union, and education backgrounds which will allow them to serve our members better.
Leonard Segal for U T L.A. President
Laura N. McCutcheon for NEA Vice President
Mark Muskrath for Secondary Vice President
Tracey Schroeder for Elementary Vice President
Soni Lloyd for AFT Vice President
Michele Middleton for Treasurer
Carrie Phu for Secretary
Gilbert Gil for Director of Special Education
David Riess & Monique Lukens for Director of Substitutes
Gary Fraigun for Board of Director NEA Valley East
Lauren Gordon-Ruderman for Board Director NEA Valley East
Angela Chavez for Board Director Harbor Area
This election is about empowering all of our members and working together to get better results where it matters most, as an alternative to the current top-down unfocused approach. In the labor movements there is a saying, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. A vote for change means every member will have a seat at the table.
For release 5pm February 16, 2023
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UTLA Officers are breaking their compact with our members