It was their first strike in 30 years. In Southern California, where rain is known to be rare, Los Angeles’ teachers walked out of their schools Jan. 14 in a downpour that kept right on pouring, day after soggy day.
Still, they picketed and rallied and marched. They put on ponchos. They held umbrellas in one hand, signs in the others. They slipped plastic bags over their handmade protest messages or laminated them to withstand the wet. They sang and chanted and danced in rubber boots. And they shared their personal experiences with everyone who would listen — describing classes with too many children in them and schools without nurses or librarians.
Parents joined the picket lines. So did students. Schools all but emptied out in their absence. Students who did go to school were supervised by the few staff on hand often in large groups, in auditoriums or gyms.
Six school days in, United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District announced on a sunny Tuesday that they had reached a tentative agreement that made inroads in the areas teachers spoke most passionately about.
Big problems remain — topmost that there isn’t the kind of funding for schools that both sides agree they deserve.
But the strike caught the attention of the city. It got people looking and talking and noticing. Here is some of what they saw when they did.
Students show up in support of the UTLA strike in Los Angeles. Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times Sean Branch, 7, a first-grader at Beckford Avenue Elementary School in Northridge, enjoys the arcade game "SnoCross" at Dave and Buster's arcade in Northridge instead of being in school because of the teachers' strike. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times Dolly Sanders, center, a teacher at Grant Elementary School, joins thousands of other educators with United Teachers Los Angeles at a rally on the fifth day of the teachers' strike in Grand Park. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Tom Morello, center, with guitar, is joined onstage by Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction and Wayne Kramer of MC5 as members of the UTLA Marching Band perform "This Land is Your Land" as thousands of educators with the UTLA hold a rally. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Reseda High students Guadalupe Gonzalez, 18, left, and friend Xiomara Garcia, 17 sit in the school auditorium as UTLA teachers are out on strike. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times A supporter of the UTLA strike sports a cape with a message in support of educators. Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times Due to the strike, families whose kids go to Elysian Heights Elementary have been taking their kids to a temporary child-care facility, El Centro del Pueblo, in Echo Park. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello takes a selfie with teachers as thousands of educators with United Teachers Los Angeles rallied on the fifth day of the strike in Grand Park. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Ignacio Gordillo, dean at Gage Middle School, shouts at lawmakers in City Hall as thousands of educators with the United Teachers Los Angeles rally. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Teacher Nanci Bazzell, center, from Marlton School for the deaf and hard of hearing, cheers with thousands of other teachers and supporters during a rally at the California Charter Schools Assn. in downtown Los Angeles. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times Johnathan Hass, a teacher at LeConte Middle School, states his case while picketing with United Teachers Los Angeles along Sunset Boulevard above the 101 Freeway as part of the "Sunset Boulevard Gauntlet." Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Students walk to their lunch at El Sereno Middle School during the teachers' strike. Silvia Razgova Teachers in a sea of umbrellas block 3rd and 4th streets over the 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times Friends, from left, Imani Brown, Savonna McGlothan, Jade Foreman and Aleysha Brown hang out in a Jack in the Box across the street from Carson Senior High School on the first day of the teachers' strike. Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times Joseph Grissom, right, and Sylvia Campos, both teachers at Hollywood Primary Center, work on a protest sign. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Roxana Duenas, whose face appears on the widely circulated "Stand With L.A. Teachers" poster, poses for a portrait in front of a large version of the poster at UTLA Headquarters. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times Alejandra Delgadillo, 39, second from left, who attended Trinity Elementary and lives across the street from the school, prepares to support teachers, from left, Diana Mendoza, fourth grade; Breanne Downs, third grade; and Karmen Maga±a, third grade. Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times Westminster Elementary School kindergarten teacher Jessica Dunn gets a workout as she engages passing vehicles on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice as teachers and supporters picket outside the school. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times Westminster Elementary School kindergarten teacher Beth Clark stands in then middle of Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice imploring passing drivers to honk as teachers and supporters picket outside the school. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times While members of United Teachers Los Angeles strike across the L.A. Unified School District, Mari Enyart, 42, helps her son Was Enyart, 7, with schoolwork while they spend their morning at a Starbucks in South Los Angeles. Silvia Razgova / For The Times Kids from Encino Elementary School attend a community-organized "strike school" at the home of Corey and Kristin Moss in Encino. Parents are taking turns hosting kids in their homes and creating a curriculum for them. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times Maria Magnanimo-Toledo, an administrative specialist at the L.A. Unified School District but serving as a substitute teacher, works wit Isaiah Ganboa, 11, while she leads a sixth-grade math class at the library of El Sereno Middle School. Silvia Razgova / For The Times Mallorie Evans, center, an educational audiologist at Marlton School for the deaf and hard of hearing, signs along with the speaker while Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and supporters gather at LAUSD headquarters. Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl organizes Los Angeles Unified School District teachers before marching from City Hall to LAUSD headquarters. Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times Los Angeles school Supt. Austin Beutner, right, with school board President Monica Garcia, met with Geri Guzman, left, and family members of students before holding a news conference. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times Kindergarten students Isabella Dam, right, and Ava Berg, middle, joined with sister Silke Berg, left, holding signs to support their teacher outside Westminster Elementary School in Venice. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times Veronica Metz, 41, a fourth-grade teacher at the 99th Street Elementary School, and her two sons, Daniel, 5, center, and Jeremy, 7, join members of United Teachers Los Angeles in support of the strike. Silvia Razgova / For The Times Burroughs Middle School seventh-graders work on iPads in the school's gymnasium. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times Teachers, from left, Lisa Ynfante, Iris Marin, Janis Nuno and Mireya Gutierrez join thousands of other Los Angeles Unified schoolteachers as they attend a UTLA rally in Grand Park. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times Reseda High School students Jania Garcia, 16, left, and classmate Dennis Miguel, 16, work at signing on to a college prep app on a laptop in the school gym as UTLA teachers are out on strike. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times Children at the Joy Picus Child Development Center take in a bird's eye-view of the thousands of educators with United Teachers Los Angeles taking part in a rally in Grand Park. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Gloria Perez-Stewart and her son Aidan Villa Senor Walker, 19, picket in support of UTLA outside Eagle Rock Jr./Sr. High School. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times Hilda Rodriguez-Guzman, right, of Reclaim Our Schools LA, wipes a tear as UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl speaks during a news conference at the UTLA office on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, before teachers go on strike. Nicholas Agro / For The Times Students wait to enter Trinity Elementary while LAUSD teachers picket in front of the school. Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times