Teachers speak out on the struggle in West Virginia

 

“The politicians don’t want to fund education; they’d rather fund war”

Teachers speak out on the struggle in West Virginia

By
a reporting team

26 February 2018

“This struggle reminds me of the conditions of the labor movement in the 1800s,” Debbie, a West Virginia teacher, told the World Socialist Web Site. “This movement today allows us to see where we have come from. While there are differences, there was enormous poverty among the workers back then, and they began a struggle.

Debbie was speaking about the strike of West Virginia teachers, which is continuing into a third day today. Teachers are demanding a significant pay increase and an end to soaring health care costs.

“Have you heard of the Battle of Blair Mountain? Workers were living in tents. The Corporations sent a train of strikebreakers and used Gatling guns. 15,000 workers began a march against the corporations. This is the only state where the Air Force was sent to bomb the workers who were fighting for their rights.

“I’m afraid this could become like Wisconsin,” she said, referring to the defeat of teachers and public sector workers in 2011 after the unions corralled mass struggles behind the recall of Republican Scott Walker. Debbie said that she was of the opinion that neither the Democrats nor Republicans speak for the working class.

“I’m also afraid they can outlast us. Tomorrow I believe they will file a court injunction to try to force the teachers back to work, then there will be a series of votes. My county will vote no, but I don’t know how it will go statewide. I agree, there needs to be a struggle of all the working people.”

Zelda, on the right, at the protests in Charleston

Zelda, a cook in the Mingo County schools, told the WSWS, “I heard [Governor] Jim…

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