“Teachers will be in the classroom…there will be no labor activity”
Pennsylvania judge breaks teachers’ strike
29 June 2018
Teachers in the northeastern Pennsylvania town of Dallas went on strike on June 19 to fight to secure a contract and oppose school authorities’ demands for cuts in wages and healthcare and pension benefits. The teachers who have been without a contract for three years struck for 22 days at the beginning of the school year in 2017.
Less than 24 hours after the strike began, a Luzerne County judge issued an injunction ordering the teachers back to work, citing a state law that mandates that students receive 180 days of instruction per year. Issuing his back-to-work order, Judge Williams Amesbury, a Democrat who previously ran under the ticket of both parties, was particularly vindictive.
“Teachers will teach, they will be in the classroom, there will be no labor activity,” the judge bellowed. “Do you understand?” He continued, “There are too many people involved; too many children who have the right to an education.”
Union officials from the Dallas Education Association immediately capitulated and submitted to court-supervised bargaining sessions.
The judge’s sudden concern for the right of students to a quality education was disingenuous to say the least. While throwing the book at the teachers—who are fighting not only for improved wages but better funding for their children—the judge has said nothing about those who are really stripping working-class youth of the right to public education.
Students have suffered years of savage budget and program cuts in Dallas and other towns and cities in the economically depressed area, a former coal mining and manufacturing center. In 2016, schools in Dallas and nearby…