It's a new day at United Teachers Los Angeles, as underdog candidate Warren Fletcher narrowly won the union presidency.
Fletcher eked out a 53-47 victory over the favorite, Julie Washington, in results announced last night. He'll take over from A.J. Duffy -- who was termed out -- on July 1.
Washington was seen as Duffy's preferred successor, so Fletcher's upset win appears to be a rebuke of his leadership.
Fletcher trailed Washington 45-37 in the first round of voting.
He ran on a change platform, vowing to restore the union to its former clout. UTLA has lost influence in recent years, and struggled in the last election to field credible contenders for the LAUSD board against Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's well-funded slate.
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Fletcher had the endorsement of NewTLA, a group of dissident teachers who were dissatisfied with the style of UTLA's leadership. Mike Stryer, a teacher at Fairfax High and one of the founding members of NewTLA, said that UTLA leadership has been "demonizing outside forces or not allowing productive dissent within the union."
"Under Warren's leadership that's likely to change, and we look forward to that," Stryer said.
Here's Fletcher's campaign video, in which he vows to restore UTLA to its former glory: