For six rainy days in January, if you were anywhere near one of the 800 LAUSD public school sites or in Grand Park you couldn’t miss the momentum and sky-high morale of the 30,000+ UTLA members who went on strike for “the schools our students deserve.” When UTLA reached agreement with the LAUSD after four days of marathon negotiations, they did more than just end a historic six-day strike. UTLA created a pathway to improve their schools and left a trail of lessons about the power of collective action.

The courageous, committed, and innovative members of United Teachers Los Angeles were successful for several reasons: the union brought parents, students, and community members together and focused their demands on a broad range of issues, not just wages. They demonstrated that when we stand together, our power is magnified and our voice is amplified.

Their strike, like the “Red for Ed” actions that swept through the nation last spring in other states, was fundamentally about securing the investment to create the schools all students deserve -- smaller class sizes, more support staff (librarians, nurses, counselors), and better pay for educators in a city with very high housing costs.