Thursday, February 22, 2018


Teachers in West Virginia went out on strike in an illegal action today. It was more than just the teachers participating in the two day illegal job action. Here is an account from WVMetroNews.

Charleston W.Va.-- The storm that's about to happen hasn’t hit West Virginia for almost 30 years.

Today, thousands of teachers and service personnel will be on the picket line — rather than in the classroom — all over West Virginia.

The last time that happened was 1990 — and even then it was only the teachers.

This time it’s bus drivers, school cooks, maintenance workers, teachers and other school employees from all of West Virginia’s 55 counties.

Here are the numbers for those who could be rallying at the Capitol or on picket lines at their schools:

18,900 classroom teachers.

If you include classroom teachers and principals and administrators, it’s 24,000.

Then mix in 13,500 service workers.

“We can’t stop this,” Joe White, executive director of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, told members of the West Virginia Board of Education during an emergency meeting on Wednesday.

It looks like it is the Teachers leading the way with other public employees coming along. Their salaries and benefits are decided statewide in WV.

Our wages in NYC in the public sector are done through pattern bargaining. One union settles on a salary increase, or a freeze, and the rest are forced to adhere to the pattern.

We can stipulate that our wages and benefits in NYC are better than public employees in WV but our working conditions have consistently been deteriorating and will continue to unless we step up. Why wait?

Cue some dream state music here please.
Imagine what would happen if instead of accepting this pattern bargaining system, all of the city workers bargained together to demand good contracts and we were ready to strike to get them? The city might have to find a way to treat us with some real respect.

I will even concede that since we have issues with our management, we can exclude the management unions from our grand coalition. Put Teachers with Sanitation, DC37 and the rest.  It is my imagination so I will even include Police, Fire and Corrections. Oh what a powerful group of unions it would be.

We could tell the mayor: "To hell with the Taylor Law." Throw in Transit (I know they negotiate with state), we could easily be European style unions. Think France.

Nobody would be worried about people leaving the unions because the Supreme Court will soon say we can.

Now I am waking up. Back to reality. I am in the UFT. DC37 will probably soon get a contract with lousy raises and we will go through a long song and dance and get the same contract as will the Police and everyone else in the municipal workforce.

West Virginia public employees are showing a different path today. We should learn from them.


Pete said...

67 instructional days until i quit. You got your wish DOE. You destroyed a good worker and a civil human being with an excellent record.

Anonymous said...

NYC talks a lot of talk about being a "union town" but the fact is there is not bond among the municipal unions here. Every union fights for their own best interest. Your idea seeing of all the NYC unions holding hands and marching down the street ain't gonna happen. As to you mentioning worrying about people leaving the union, well, the only people that should worry about that are the Unity hacks that have been stabbing us in the back. Teachers in NYC need to settle our crap in our own backyard right now by either voting in real leaders in the UFT or stage a massive pulling of dues until they step up their game. There is a huge shitstorm brewing right now and it's name is Janus.

Pete Zucker said...

Teachers in West Virginia have more balls than our union.

Anonymous said...

I got plenty of years in. I don't mind loosing 2 days for every day I strike. I am sure there are a lot of vets and even some newbies that would be willing to strike. The UFT on the other hand will never go for it. They have to have their friggin' "seat at the table" with the DOE and The Mayor. Janus is gonna knock Mulgoon down in a big way.

Anonymous said...

I'm over 20 years in and honestly am in a financial situation where I could take the hit for a bit of time on strike. The answer to your question is pretty simple though - NO. The UFT haven't the balls, courage, backbone, spirit, boldness, audacity, daring, grit or fearlessness to strike. They lost it many years before I even entered the system. Only reason I know it is because of relatives who were part of the UFT that actually went on strike when I was a child. Different time, different politics. It ain't happening. Let's face it - our union is 3/4 castrated and its been that way for a long time now.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You must be referring to NYC teachers.

Anonymous said...

I was on strike 3 times in my first 8 years as a NYC teacher. Each strike was problematical. The last on in 75 was sold out by Shanker - despite the strike we lost 15,000 teachers.
But let's talk West Virginia -- a right to work state with 3 teacher unions - NEA, AFt and an independent. James don't take too much hope here - it is not that we are chicken but when we make 45k a year with little health benefits then we may not have enough to lose to be chicken.

James Eterno said...

I find it hard to see how 1967 and 1968 were losses. Wasn't it after 68 where we got the Christmas tree contract where city went up with us to Albany and got Tier 1? My Tier 1 colleagues basically got nice boosts to after tax pay upon retiring. That increased take home pay second pension was quite good. It came after those two strikes. If you believe the strikes did not give the UFT leverage, we respectfully disagree. Compared to Tier 1, new teachers today have Tier 6 where someone taking the job fresh out of college would need to work over 40 years to get a pension of 55% of the average of the last five year's salary. Yes it is a different time and politics are different with 38 years of mostly right wing rule but WV teachers are showing there can be a different route and I salute them for it.

Prehistoric pedagogue said...

I was on strike for a week in September of 1975
Probably the last time I was proud of theUFT

James Eterno said...

That says it all. Proud to be UFT when the UFT acted like a union.

ed notes online said...

The 67 strike was a win. The 68 strikes crippled us. The 75 strike killed us.
The early 60s strikes were the big ones and took a lot of guts as they created the union.
There is no connection betweem strikes and pensions. Lobbying may have gotten us pensions -- all unions got them. Shanker role was still big.

James Eterno said...

I believe I read that linkage between the 68 strike and legislation to pass tier I in Josh Freeman's book on working class NY. Strikes can succeed after they are done. They can fail in the long run too.