Warren Fletcher, right, is president of United Teachers-Los Angeles.
Warren Fletcher, right, is president of United Teachers-Los Angeles. Above, he speaks during a candidates forum in Boyle Heights. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times / March 4, 2014)
The contest to head the nation's second-largest teachers union will go to a second round, pitting incumbent Warren Fletcher against challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl.
Fewer than 1 in 4 teachers cast ballots. Caputo-Pearl received 48% of the votes and Fletcher, 21%.
Ten candidates had been vying for the office of president of United Teachers-Los Angeles. They sought to lead a teacher corps that is substantially dispirited and divided, with common grievances, but no clear consensus on how to move forward.
The candidates' ideas included becoming more -- or less -- adversarial with the district and changing the color of union T-shirts from red to pink or orange to seem less aggressive.
The leader of the union not only affects its 31,552 members but also half a million students. The union president speaks for the membership publicly and is a crucial figure for setting priorities and negotiating contracts. But the union's structure also is cumbersome and, without a strong president, it's difficult to bring the factions together.
Fletcher was seeking a second and final term for a three-year position that pays $101,000 annually. The ballots were mailed out in late February and tallied Thursday.
In his campaign, Fletcher, 54, noted that since he became president, teacher layoffs and furlough