Teachers in Los Angeles, whose 640,000 students make it the nation's second-largest school district, are ready to strike Thursday over a contract dispute that follows teacher walkouts in other states that emboldened organized labor after a critical defeat at the US Supreme Court.
United Teachers Los Angeles said its 35,000 members would walk off the job for the first time in 30 years if a deal wasn't reached on higher pay and smaller class sizes. The Los Angeles Unified School District says the union's demands could bankrupt the school system, which is projecting a half-billion-dollar deficit this budget year and has billions obligated for pension payments and health coverage for retired teachers.
Negotiations are continuing, but little progress is evident. The two sides rejected Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's offer to broker a deal.