Ending Collective Bargaining for Teachers

LAUSD and UTLA Collude to End Collective Bargaining for Teachers Part 2

As somebody who went to law school and taught constitutional law at both the secondary and university levels, I had always operated under the delusion that one was innocent until proven guilty by a preponderance of the evidence in a civil case and beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case. In the corrupt world created by the Los Angeles Unifed School District (LAUSD) and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), nothing could be further from the truth.

From the moment you are targeted for removal from teaching for what quickly becomes a never ending sequence of fabricated charges based on untrue reasons mentioned in Part 1 of this article, you are presumed guilty by virtually everybody you deal with. And even those few people who see clearly that you are being railroaded by LAUSD and UTLA, nothing is done to intervene on your behalf, because they are terrified of losing their own jobs…or privileges While there are some pretty awful teachers within LAUSD, ironically, they will be the last to be harassed, attacked, and removed, because they play ball with corrupt LAUSD or UTLA administrations. 

None of this could take place if UTLA did its job and their law firm of Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad didn’t help in facilitating your removal from teaching by LAUSD. Here is the way it is done:

  • Once LAUSD has fabricated what they think is enough “evidence” against you and there has been a Skelley Hearing, the Chief Education Officer for LAUSD will invariably recommend your dismissal from teaching to the LAUSD Board. You will not be allowed to speak before the Board before they rubber stamp your dismissal, which will become final within 30 days, if you do nothing.
  • At this point, UTLA will supply $2500 to the law firm of Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad and no other law firm to walk you through the process of being dismissed. In my case Richard Schwab, a partner in this firm emphatically stated that he was not my attorney and told me that he had been hired by UTLA to “just walking me through the process,” When he went through the file I gave him with the charges and my answers, he assumed that all bogus allegations fabricated by LAUSD were true, after which he keeps hammering on the fact that I had a weak case and that I should settle. Of course, at this point he said that with the writing of a form letter asking for a hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), the $2500 UTLA had given him had been consumed. At this point, I wondered if I might have walked into the wrong office by mistake and was talking to an LAUSD attorney, instead of somebody recommend/chosen by UTLA that you have been paying $57 monthly dues to for 15 years. I tried to console myself that at least my looming dismissal from LAUSD had been temporarily stopped.
  • Now the game becomes about getting you to take a settlement, so that both LAUSD and UTLA can get rid of you. Attorney Schwab tells you that although you have been put on unpaid administrative leave as of the LAUSD Board’s vote for your dismissal,

Attorney Richard Schwab tell you that “You are not entitled to collect unemployment benefits nor will UTLA come up with any more money for your defense.” Both of these statement turned out to be completely false.

  • The way that LAUSD leapfrogs over your LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Rights to arbitration- which UTLA had already asked for in my case- is by alleging that you are guilty of a morals charge under Education Code Section 44939. In a blatant violation of due process of law, they will refuse to authenticate any evidence of this charge that they have in fact fabricated against you under this statute. Richard Schwab and UTLA will do nothing to seek injunctive relief in Superior Court to stop this from taking place on your behalf or on behalf of the hundreds of teachers this is being done to throughout LAUSD. Again Schwab willing falsely assert, “This would be a separate action.”
  • Now Schwab offers you a deal- being that your $2500 from UTLA has been consumed after he spent a weekend reviewing your file. He agrees to negotiate on your behalf to get a settlement from LAUSD, which he will only charge you $2500 for- $1500 down. He also tells you that he will take 40% of any settlement he gets for you from LAUSD- he has asked as much as 60% of the settlement from other LAUSD teachers he has proposed this to, so I guess I should have felt lucky. Schwab continues to pressure me with the fact that going to OAH will cost a minimum of $30,000 and that doesn’t include court costs if I lose. Schwab also stresses the fact that this offer to negotiate a settlement is in no way an offer to represent me in an OAH procedure.

So now you have no job, a mortgage to pay, a kid in college, and a wife who is pissed off and the possibility of spending well over $30,000 to prove that you are innocent, something that you always thought was presumed until the other side showed otherwise.

  • You are now between a rock and a hard place, but before you can respond, UTLA’s Joshua Pechthault says that the union has decided to authorize $15,000 for your defense, “But only if you use the law firm of Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad.” When you ask if you can take the money to an attorney of your own choosing, Josh emphatically say no. When I insist that there is a potential conflict of interest in Schwab representing me and representing UTLA, both Schwab and Pechthault deny this. Ironically, UTLA’s refusal to let me pick my own attorney is the best evidence of the fact that a conflict of interest exists. Although Joshua Pechthault promises to take my claim of conflict of interest to the UTLA Legal Committee that deals with such matters, as of this writing I have heard nothing from him and he does not respond to my phone calls- it’s been 7 months. I guess he is already on to his next job as President of UTLA/AFT Local 1021.

As for Schwab, he has told other teachers in the past who wanted to sue UTLA for bad actss that he cannot do it, because it would be a conflict of interest, given the fact that they are his major client. So which is it Richard?

Comments

  1. Ryder says

    I was not blaming teachers! I was blaming (oh so clearly) collective bargaining… that causes children to be exposed to VERY VERY bad teachers…. with no hope of escape.

    And it is VERY incorrect to say that teachers never had any say in all of this. They USED to, when we sought teachers because of their skills… individually… before unions corrupted the entire purpose of teaching… it used to be about educating the young. Now it is about securing the jobs of adults, regardless of their ability or dedication. This shift in focus is horribly corrupt.

    When we searched for the best teachers, and paid them… we left THEM to do their jobs… and they had much say in all aspects of education. Yes, parents also have a say, as well they should! They are hiring teachers to do a specialized service FOR them… for it is the duty of a parent to educate their children when all is said and done… so you are incorrect. To say teachers never had any say is simply and plainly wrong. It is truer now than in the past, we agree… but that is what happens when bad teachers take root in a system designed by adults for adults, as we have now.

    I have been very involved… helping and fighting when necessary, the public schools… they treat parents HORRIBLY in my experience. In a private school, one phone call or email, and I could meet with any teacher within 24 hours. In my well funded, affluent public school, where results are poorer BTW, I spent MONTHS, with at least one dozen emails and phone calls to arrange ONE MEETING with a teacher… having to finally get the principal involved to make it happen, and even then, the meeting was controlled by the school, including the agenda, as apposed to me meeting one on one with my child’s teacher.

    It is this level of NON education garbage that we have to deal with, thanks to the fortress of unionized, state run schools… unresponsive to parents, because quite frankly, they don’t depend on parents for anything… not their pay, not curriculum, not job security, nothing… parents are a distraction to the teachers of today.

    Private schools? (that do more with less, typically). It’s TOTALLY different. Parents can affect curriculum. Parents can pressure bad teachers out of the school.

    There is a lesson to be learned there, Leonard.

    Again, bad teachers and the collective bargaining that protects them are to blame… not the good teachers, and certainly not the best teachers… so let’s not pretend that this was my argument, ok?

    Highly paid BAD teachers, are taking money from the poorly paid GREAT teachers. If you want that to change… collective bargaining HAS TO GO.

    Let’s do simple school math. I have 400 dollars to pay two teachers. One hurts children by wasting their time and demotivating them. The other helps kids excel beyond their wildest dreams and keeps them motivated.

    Your version of the world says that I give $200 to the good teacher, AND the bad teacher. Nothing motivates the bad teacher to improve, and nothing motivates the good teacher to maintain her astounding performance.

    Do you *really* think this is a smart arrangement?

    In my world, that excellent teacher gets ALL of the money, I fire the crappy one, and I start looking for another good teacher TODAY, because children don’t have time for anything less. Their years run by so very quickly.

    That’s how you get results my friend. That is how you put good teachers and children FIRST.

    Bad teachers need to be gone. Any child could tell you that.

  2. Ryder says

    You shouldn’t be making this about money. Leftists shouldn’t be so money focused.

    This is all about something much more important. Our children.

    Like it or not, collective bargaining has hurt children…. millions upon millions of lives… damaged by teachers and organizations focused on everything but education… the unions.

    Collective bargaining has put our school systems in jeopardy, with the kids bearing the brunt of the damage. Everyone knows…. bad teachers can’t be stopped from wreaking havoc on the lives of our children because they can’t be kicked out of the profession. Doctors can. Layers can be disbarred… but not Teachers. Bad teachers are like herpes. You have them for life…

    And not only can you NOT protect children from bad teachers, you can’t even persuade teachers to leave by reducing their pay, or even holding it… no, the bad teachers, thanks to collective bargaining, get paid as well as the best teachers.

    Is that the thanks our best teachers get??? not one thin dime more than HORRIFIC teachers get?

    The obscene unfair, unsustainable, and unnatural process that is the teachers union machine… at heavy cost to children, is stunning in it’s dimension, and horrifying in it’s result. Our status as a nation since the rise of the collective bargaining in education had been falling steadily, and it’s shameful that this author chooses to align himself with the failure of this process, siding with the status quo, again, with those most hurt being our children.

    Good teachers know how to teach. It’s not hard to make it work. A building, some desks, good teachers, and students is really all it takes, and people ARE willing to pay for it.

    Instead we are forced to live with schools with massive overheads and top heavy administrations, leaving little for the teacher, the students, and their classroom.

    This MUST END.

    To point to corrupt cronyism as a reason to maintain a corrupted school system lacks all reason.

    • says

      Legal tender is used by both the Left and the Right to finance their vision of society. Key to that vision is adequately financing public education for the children and not for corrupt administrators, politician, and their vendors who presently profit from this longstanding purposeful failing of public education that gives them an ignorant- not stupid- future citizenry that doesn’t have the knowledge to wield the power vested in them by the constitution.

      Notice, I left teachers out of this cabal of culpability. Why? Because they have never had any say as to how public education is run. To lay off this corruption on teachers makes about as much sense as blaming them for the failed banks, stock market, and global warming. As for the teachers’ union machine, they have more in common with LAUSD leadership- ask outgoing UTLA President A.J. Duffy who is planning on going to work of LAUSD pilot schools program- then they have ever had with their own rank and file teacher membership.

      If you truly care about the kids so much, create local control of schools with two-way accountability, something A.J. Duffy, LEARN, and LAUSD have given lipservice to, but in reality, fight every step of the way, since it would finally hold them accountable and give us the schools you say you want.

      German pays its teachers 60-80 thousand Euro a year and they are highly respected members of society with professional business people and lawyers running their unions. They don’t negotiate from a position of weakness like UTLA, but rather as equals who demand respect. Maybe that is why Germany has an intelligent enough educated population to vote for the elimination of nuclear power, since they are capable of critical thinking.

      • in_awe says

        Germany has an intelligent enough educated population to vote for the elimination of nuclear power, since they are capable of critical thinking.

        You seriously believe this statement? And what alternative sources will they employ to make up the shortfall of electricity? In the US the alternatives have all been blamed for everything from killing the earth to exterminating endangered birds.

        Germany will need to produce more than 42% of its power from alternative sources – an unlikely achievement by 2020. So, the alternative is to rely on coal and natural gas fueled power plants and put an incremental 400 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere by 2020 (the next 9 years). Or then can reduce electricity consumption and downgrade their economy, or rely on other nations to provide it with its needed energy. That didn’t work out so well when it relied on the Soviet Union for its natural gas needs (ditto for Ukraine which was also politically blackmailed by Russia over energy).

        It sounds like the Germans have been treated to the same politically motivated drivel from its teaching corps that Americans have since the 1970′s. The idea that shutting down the nation’s nuclear energy industry is an “intelligent” decision resulting from critical thinking is laughable.

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