Unions seek to hijack, shut down Oklahoma teachers strike as support for expanded struggle grows

 

Unions seek to hijack, shut down Oklahoma teachers strike as support for expanded struggle grows

By
the Socialist Equality Party

9 April 2018

As the strike by tens of thousands of Oklahoma teachers and support staff enters its second week, workers face a critical crossroads. While teachers are determined to expand the fight in defense of public education, the unions are doing everything they can to hijack the struggle, shut it down, and impose a sellout.

The courageous stand taken by educators, following the nine-day strike in West Virginia, has won widespread support in the working class across the United States and internationally. It takes place amidst a resurgence of class struggle throughout the world.

The strike was initiated and driven by teachers, who have resisted the efforts by the unions—the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA)—to end the strike without addressing teachers’ main demands.

Now, the unions hope to shut down the strike with minor additions to the rotten bipartisan deal—initially hailed by the unions as “historic”—that teachers already overwhelmingly rejected on March 29 in pushing to strike. These would provide a few tens of millions of dollars in school funding, which will be paid for through regressive taxes that will hit the working class hardest, including the legalization of “ball and dice” casino gambling.

The unions have dropped any reference to the workers’ demands for a $10,000 pay raise for teachers, $5,000 for school support staff, and at least $200 million in additional funding. Instead, Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) president Alicia Priest indicated on Friday that the OEA has backtracked even from the “bottom line” it previously set to end the strike,…

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