Los Angeles teachers are ready for first strike in 30 years

Teachers in Los Angeles, whose 640,000 students make it the nation’s second-largest school district, are ready to strike Thursday over a contract dispute that follows teacher walkouts in other states that emboldened organized labor after a critical defeat at the U.S. Supreme Court.

United Teachers Los Angeles said its 35,000 members would walk off the job for the first time in 30 years if a deal wasn’t reached on higher pay and smaller class sizes. The Los Angeles Unified School District says the union’s demands could bankrupt the school system, which is projecting a half-billion-dollar deficit this budget year and has billions obligated for pension payments and health coverage for retired teachers.

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