Doubling down: Los Angeles’ teachers union in the aftermath of its major election defeat

Sarah Favot and Mike Szymanski:

The teachers union in Los Angeles — one of the largest local teachers unions in the nation — suffered a huge loss in last week’s school board election, but observers say it will only cause union leadership to fight harder.

Ultimately, that could mean United Teachers Los Angeles will bolster efforts to unionize charter school teachers and might move to strike as it fights for a new contract.

“Normally a setback of this magnitude would result in retrenching, or at least re-evaluation,” said union watcher and writer Mike Antonucci. “It may instead lead to redoubling. Now that they have lost, they will use the defeat as evidence of the danger posed by their opponents, and so the fight must continue, and in fact, escalate.”
Antonucci predicted there is little chance of a quick settlement of its union contract negotiations, which have already begun, and that a strike is “very likely.”

“I don’t think it causes the union to pull back. Sometimes when you’re kind of in a corner, you get tougher,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA.