Afraid that pictures of Los Angeles teachers enjoying spring break could harm the UTLA union’s argument made in negotiations that it is unsafe to return to classrooms, its members reportedly have been told not to post any vacation snapshots on social media.
The warning was displayed on a screenshot that appeared to be from a Facebook group that includes some 5,700 members called “UTLA FB GROUP - Members Only."
“If you are planning any trips for Spring Break, please keep that off of Social Media,” a post from the group read. “It is hard to argue that it is unsafe for in-person instruction, if parents and the public see vacation photos and international travel."
One group member responded “Amen” to the post, while another said, "Or better yet, don't travel on spring break and set an example."
The message to the teachers followed a vote last week that rejected by a 91%-9% margin what UTLA called an "unsafe" return to the classroom unless certain demands are met.
Those demands include that L.A. County move out of the state's purple tier, guarantee that staff is either fully vaccinated or provided access to full vaccination, and that certain coronavirus safety measures must be in place for schools.
Critics of the union's stance used the screenshot to bash UTLA.
"The union’s decision to condone international vacations while keeping students and educators from returning to classrooms is so hypocritical you would think [Gov.] Gavin Newsom thought of it himself," Kevin Faulconer for Governor communications director John Burke told Fox News. "Our spineless governor refuses to stand up to them and do what’s right for our students. It’s time to recall Newsom."
The vote was announced on the same day that the governor announced he signed a $6.6 billion package to accelerate the safe return to teaching in the classroom statewide, a proposal in which schools that fail to reopen by April 1 will lose 1% of eligible funds for every day they miss the deadline.
ABC7 reported that this is part of the pressure growing throughout California for districts to reopen even before the union’s goals are fully met.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said on Tuesday that, despite the union’s stance, the district expects to reach a deal with UTLA this week on reopening.
He stressed that the district has reached a deal with other education and worker unions and is optimistic that it will also be able to do so with UTLA.
The union responded to the screenshot of the Facebook page, stating to Fox that "We have a diverse membership, and they are able to post their views on personal Facebook pages and in this Facebook group -- however, UTLA does not monitor nor is responsible for the content. We do not want to discourage a robust dialogue for members in the public square of opinion."
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