Worker to Worker Why We Must All Support the Los Angeles Teacher’s Strike!

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The teachers’ strike in Los Angeles requires the broadest solidarity of the working class to succeed. Below, a letter from a graduate of LAUSD in support.

Image by Gina Ferrazi/Los Angeles Times

Dear Teachers,

Thank you for your willingness to fight for your right to live, for quality public education and for the Los Angeles communities. The strike of the second largest Teachers union in the country will affect us all. It will be a lesson in class struggle. It is important therefore that you win and the people who are not teachers help you win.

Since last year, teachers from various states of the country are giving us lessons in struggle and dignity. Your strike in Los Angeles is already part of the wave of teachers’ strikes that broke out in West Virginia, Arizona and Oklahoma last year. The American working class is with you because you are the ones who educate our children in schools neglected by the government.

For many who are not teachers it will show our employers that we can fight for our right to be paid enough to afford our homes, to afford our healthcare and to have a life of joy instead of exhaustion from working two jobs, side gigs and understaffed jobs like teachers deal with.

I am a product of UTLA teachers. From kindergarten until I graduated high school I had teacher members of UTLA help me grow. I remember the teacher’s strike of 1989 as a child in 2nd grade. I remember my mother explained the teachers were fighting for their rights. I even remember the pickets!

Throughout my coming of age I had teachers who were motivated and inspired me. Teachers who taught me to think. Teachers who helped me be creative and teachers who genuinely cared about me. And I had teachers who were overworked. Teachers who paid for school supplies-supplies that should’ve been paid for by the district.

Teachers who spent weekends helping us practice instead of being with their families. Teachers who photocopied textbooks because there weren’t enough to go around. Teachers who said they couldn’t elaborate on historical truths which contradicted textbooks because it wasn’t “to the test”. Teachers who spent their lunches counseling students in crisis. Teachers literally have to fight the district every day to make sure students get an education. The teacher’s are being forced to strike to survive and to defend their students.

If you teachers win it will show bosses we, the working class, will stand up to them. It will inspire more people to demand high wages, healthcare, and respect at work.

Now I am grown what can WE do to make sure the strike wins?

The teachers need the support of parents and kids. If you have children in LAUSD take them to the picket line! The picket line is where the teacher’s are! They can educate you and your kids about why we need to fight for teacher’s rights, workers rights.

If you are a member of SEIU 99 as a cafeteria worker or Teacher Assistant talk about the strike at work with co workers! Demand the union send money and active support for the teacher’s on strike!

There are unions like the California Faculty Association and unions around the country sending money and solidarity but is not enough. If you are a member of ANY union, demand the leadership to send money and a resolution of solidarity at least.

If you aren’t a member of a Union, talk with your coworkers about the strike. Why we need to support the teachers and why you need a union (you probably do!!).

Don’t be a scab substitute teacher! Refuse to cross the picket line! Teachers are fighting for all of workers rights. If you scab you are undermining the children’s access to education, workers living standards and healthcare. Don’t be a #Scabstitute. Don’t cross!

Solidarity to the teachers from a graduate of UTLA teachers! Thank you for teaching me class struggle! Thank you for your dedication!

Special thanks to teachers who were part of my growing up through LAUSD. From kindergarten at 42nd Street to 32nd Street USC Magnet 2nd grade to 8th grade to Hamilton Music Academy!

Wherever you are thank those teachers who supported and inspired you. Support the Los Angeles Teacher’s Strike!!

About author

Julia Wallace

Julia Wallace

Julia is a contributor for Left Voice and has been a revolutionary socialist for over ten years. She served on the South Central Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles and is a member of SEIU Local 721. Julia organizes against police brutality and in defense of LGBTQ, women, and immigrants' rights. When she's not actively fighting the patriarchy, white supremacy and/or capitalism, she enjoys many things: she loves Thundercat, plays ultimate frisbee and is a founder of the team, "Black Lives Hammer."