Union betrays Arizona teachers strike, backs Republican state budget
4 May 2018
Early Thursday morning, the Arizona state legislature passed the budget proposal of Republican Governor Doug Ducey, which was promptly signed into law. Arizona Education Association (AEA) and its front group, Arizona Educators United (AEU), endorsed the budget on Tuesday and called for an end to the walkout. Districts across the state sent out notices that classes are to resume Friday.
The settlement is a miserable betrayal of teachers who courageously struck for six days, in defiance of anti-strike laws and the deliberate isolation of their walkout by the national teacher unions and state unions in Arizona. The budget is virtually unchanged from the proposal teachers rejected when they began their strike April 26. It includes money to give some teachers raises but not enough for the promised 20 percent over the next three years.
Teachers without a homeroom class, like resource teachers or reading coaches, are entirely left out of these raises. Also excluded are tens of thousands of support staff like school bus drivers, instructional aides, custodians and cafeteria workers, many of whom are paid close to minimum wage.
Like the statewide strikes that preceded it in West Virginia and Oklahoma, the walkout in Arizona was initiated by rank-and-file teachers, not the unions, which opposed any strike action from the beginning. The Arizona teacher unions announced the end of the walkout the day after a visit from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who along with her counterpart in the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, have been combing the country to stamp out teachers’ strikes and prevent them…