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.