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Los Angeles Teachers' Union Says It's Ready To Strike

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A tense week in Los Angeles as the teachers' union and the city school district try to make a deal to avoid a teachers' strike. The district upped their offer on Friday, but the union said it wasn't enough. United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl spoke at a press conference after the day of negotiations.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALEX CAPUTO-PEARL: Get ready because, on Monday, we will be on strike for our students, for our schools and for the future of public education in Los Angeles.

(CHEERING)

SIMON: NPR's Elissa Nadworny has more from Los Angeles.

ELISSA NADWORNY, BYLINE: While the union and the district were at the negotiating table, LA history teacher Rosa Jimenez (ph) was at the front of her class with a simple question.

ROSA JIMENEZ: What does the labor union do?

NADWORNY: A high-school junior named Ingrid answers.

INGRID: A labor union is an organization of workers that's formed in the purpose for, like, benefiting, like, the workers.

JIMENEZ: And what is one thing that they're able to do? What was that other word that - we wrote the definition down.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENTS: Strike.

JIMENEZ: Strike.

NADWORNY: Students may see their lesson come to life on Monday, when their teachers plan to strike for more money, for smaller classes, for more nurses, among other things. The district says it just doesn't have the money to meet those demands. And if there is a strike, the district says schools will be open, stocked by administrators, volunteers and newly hired substitutes. Elissa Nadworny, NPR News, Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.