For those who don't know, a wave of (heavily under-reported) strikes organized online by teachers has been sweeping across the U.S. over the last couple months. The first strike wave took place in West Virginia, which won a number of concessions from the state government, inspiring teachers in Oklahoma and now Arizona to join in as well as, to lesser degrees, those in Kentucky and Colorado as well. Educators in these states typically have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet and are saddled with oversized classes, a shortage of textbooks, and frankly a shortage of other teachers because nobody wants the job due to the conditions. In Oklahoma, some 20% of the schools have resorted to four-day school weeks due to funding shortages, which of course only further elevates the burden on teachers. Many schools across these states have even ceased to use heating and air conditioning to save money.
These strikes demand substantial increases in pay for teachers and other school staff, as well as the restoration of pre-recession funding levels and an end to the privatization of public schools that is being advanced by the Trump Administration and supported by state governments (most aggressively by the Republican-controlled ones).
These actions have been organized by teachers themselves online, not called by their unions. In that connection, the World Socialist Web Site has, in their coverage, made what I think is an important point about the role of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers -- the main teacher unions -- in this struggle:
"In order to carry their struggle forward, teachers in Arizona and Colorado must learn the lessons of the West Virginia and Oklahoma strikes. In each case, the unions sought to isolate the struggle and redirect it behind voting for Democrats in the mid-term elections.
The unions see it as their task to ensure “labor peace.” In a comment to the Washington Post, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten ($500,000/year salary), wrote that if the unions are weakened struggles like that in West Virginia “will be multiplied and magnified across the country.”
It is no coincidence that the teachers’ struggle has broken out first in states where the unions have less of a stranglehold. In Arizona, a state with over 50,000 teachers, the Arizona Education Association has fewer than 20,000 members."
Unions in this country serve the opposite of their official role anymore. They exist much more to contain and undermine labor actions rather than to represent and advance the interests of the workers they purport to represent. From fast food strikes to these, there are more labor actions happening in this country right now among non-union workers than among those who have unions.
I'm of the persuasion that schools should be public property, funded equally and well (not shortchanged to pay for unnecessary subsidies for industries like oil and natural gas), and run by the teachers who work there and know their students and their individual needs rather than by administrative staff that doesn't.
So anyway, do you consider yourself a supporter of these strike actions?