Teachers union leader Alex Caputo-Pearl joins the UC Berkeley Labor Center as a practitioner in residence


Teachers union leader Alex Caputo-Pearl began his year-long practitioner-in-residence appointment at the Labor Center on July 1, building on the Leadership Development Program’s partnerships with the NEA, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), and other educator unions. With 22 years of experience as a teacher and nine years as a full-time elected union leader, Caputo-Pearl will be working on strengthening K-12 education with teachers unions around the country. He hopes to spread best practices in organizing that were developed during his time at UTLA for supporting negotiating, strategic campaigns, community coalition-building, and cross-labor coalition-building. As a practitioner in residence, he will publish articles and host Labor Center forums.

Caputo-Pearl recently finished a 2020–2023 term as the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) National Education Association (NEA) vice president, and was the president of UTLA from 2014–2020. While at UTLA, he helped build a high-participation union with democratic structures that won strikes; won community/racial justice demands in bargaining; transformed its staff structure; built and expanded community coalitions; and led progressive electoral and coalition work at the local, state, and national levels.

Caputo-Pearl is on the national steering committee of the NEA Strategic Campaign Institute for Community Schools, which is a joint effort with the Midwest Academy, and he is a former member of the AFT Executive Council. He taught for 22 years in South LA, mostly at Crenshaw High School, and is one of the co-founders of the Coalition for Educational Justice and the Crenshaw Cougar Coalition. Caputo-Pearl helped build the Progressive Educators for Action and Union Power caucuses within UTLA. He was trained in organizing through the Labor/Community Strategy Center, the Bus Riders Union, and organizations of the Central American solidarity movement. He was also trained in Community Schools through the University of Southern California and the Tom and Ethel Bradley Foundation in their joint work on the Extended Learning Cultural Model at Crenshaw High School.

The Labor Center welcomes Alex Caputo-Pearl. We are very excited to be working with him!