Teachers unions intensify efforts to suppress growing class struggle in the US
20 March 2018
On Sunday night, the National Education Association (NEA) shut down the strike by 4,000 teachers and support staff in Jersey City, the second-largest school district in the state of New Jersey. The NEA ordered educators to return to their classrooms without providing any details on the tentative deal, let alone allowing workers to vote on it. Presuming that an agreement actually exists, it will do nothing to address teachers’ demands to end soaring health care costs.
The one-day strike is the latest in a growing wave of protests and calls for strikes that have spread from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Tennessee, Colorado and other states, plus the US territory of Puerto Rico, where teachers struck against school privatization yesterday.
The struggle of Jersey City teachers exposes the role of the Democratic Party, which supports the assault on teachers and public education no less than the Republicans. At issue is a bill, known as Chapter 78, which forces public employees to pay up to 35 percent of their medical insurance premiums and eliminates fully funded pensions for future teachers. It was passed with the backing of the Democratic-controlled state legislature in 2011.
Within hours of the beginning of the strike, a Hudson County judge granted the city’s Democratic Party-controlled school board an injunction to order teachers back to work on the grotesque grounds that teachers—not the corporate-controlled politicians—were doing “irreparable harm” to Jersey City school children.
The Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) is acting in the same manner as the unions in West Virginia, which opposed any struggle of teachers and worked to end it and impose…