United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union that represents about 30,000 Los Angeles K–12 public school teachers, has demanded that far-left statewide economic policy changes and social justice initiatives be accepted in return for reopening Los Angeles school classrooms once restrictions are lifted.
Every stakeholder in California’s public education system should be alarmed, because these demands, which range from defunding police to imposing a large wealth tax, go far beyond the scope of any union negotiation. If implemented, these policies would substantially depress living standards and the quality of life for most of California’s 40 million residents.
Since when does a union make demands about statewide economic policies? UTLA made outrageous demands because it knew that it could, and without rebuke from political leaders, who should have established functional political norms that would prevent this type of behavior. Instead, political leaders have collectively failed to effectively govern. And this failure is the reason why living standards in California are lower than in many other states, and why poverty and homelessness are so high in California.