Registered nurses with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) applaud news that—as the result of a historic strike—30,000 educators represented by United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) have reached an agreement, ratified in voting Tuesday night, with the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD).
“This is a huge victory for the children, families and hardworking teachers of Los Angeles. The courageous teachers and community supporters have proven that when working people stand together, they can move mountains,” said CNA/NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, citing the L.A. strike as the latest example, along with a wave of historic teachers strikes in 2018, of workers rising up in collective opposition to corporate attacks and the defunding and corporate privatization of our public institutions— in this case, our public education system.
“No one has taken advocacy to the streets of America in the past year the way the teachers have done, from West Virginia to Los Angeles. We are so proud of what our UTLA sisters and brothers have accomplished through their solidarity, and their unwavering demand for justice, in the face of corporate greed,” said Castillo.
Nurses say they especially congratulate teachers on winning a reduction in class sizes.
“Teachers cannot do their job when they are overloaded with students. Nurses had to fight hard in California to win our own safe staffing protections—and are still fighting at the national level, so we are very pleased to see this particular win,” said Castillo. “Students deserve to learn in conditions where teachers are able to give them the attention, time, energy and resources to help them flourish.”
RNs also cheer news that the agreement includes the hiring of nurses, to provide a full-time nurse at every school, five days a week.
“Nurses know that when kids are not healthy, they’re not able to learn,” said Castillo. “Students today show up at school with a wide variety of complex and serious health conditions—especially since many of them may not have adequate health care outside of school. It is imperative that a nurse be on site to care for them.”
CNA/NNU registered nurses have voiced support for the teachers throughout the strike, which began January 14. RNs say they shared educators’ concern that with a pro-charter school majority on the LAUSD board, and pro-charter businessman Austin Beutner acting as superintendent, equal opportunity to education was impossible.
“The effort of billionaires to erode the public education system and push public resources to charter schools is a blatant attack on our democracy. Los Angeles teachers said, ‘Enough is enough!’—and took a huge stand for public schools, which serve high numbers of children of color and low-income children. What they have accomplished is a victory for equality in society,and for quality education for all,” said Castillo.
“Social determinants, such as the educational opportunities or level of schooling a person receives, greatly influence the health of our patients. So nurses thank the teachers for their righteous fight, which is a win for a healthier society. We want the teachers to know the nurses will continue standing with them to protect education as a public good—today, tomorrow and always.”