Events of recent weeks shows there’s gut-level support for radical change, including on the state of education teacher’s working conditions. This building momentum could lead to much-needed reform, argues Andy Piascik.
By Andy Piascik
Last spring, public school teachers led an inspiring wave of strikes across the United States. That momentum has carried over into the 2018-19 school year.
With school opened for less than a month, teachers in several districts in Washington state have already won significant gains in pay, benefits and school funding through walkouts.
In Puerto Rico, teachers struck on the third day of school to oppose school closures demanded by financial vultures, who continue to ravage the island.
And in Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest school district, teachers have authorized a strike if their demands to prevent wage and benefit cuts and against school privatization aren’t met.
In addition to the strike and potential walk-outs, teachers in West Virginia have formed WV United, according to Labor Notes reporter Dan Dimaggio. WV United is a rank-and-file caucus consisting of members of both the nation’s major teachers unions, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. WV United is affiliated with the United Caucuses of Rank-and-File Educators (UCORE).
Teachers in West Virginia kicked off the wave of strikes in the spring, and educators and other school staff in Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado, North Carolina and Kentucky soon followed, holding large-scale walkouts that led to the statewide closure of schools for extended periods in some instances.
Similar actions also took place in individual municipalities such as Jersey City, New Jersey.
A Show of Unity and Militancy
In every instance, there was a tremendous degree of unity. Rank-and-file participation was robust. Rallies were large and often quite spirited. Few teachers crossed picket lines in those places where schools weren’t completely closed and the public was highly supportive.
Some commentary has noted that Donald Trump carried a number of the…