March 6, 2018

West Virginia: A model of new labor activism

Buzzfeed-  The teachers in West Virginia — and now Oklahoma and Kentucky — are demonstrating that workers can organize and take action even in states where such strikes are illegal, and wield leverage over a state employer the old-fashioned way. ... Teachers in West Virginia told BuzzFeed News that they’re now speaking with teachers in Kentucky about striking over unsatisfactory pension and retirement fund negotiations.

And in the past few days, nearly 40,000 people have joined a Facebook group — ”Oklahoma Teachers United” — that has pledged to strike on April 2 if teachers don’t receive a $10,000 increase to bring their salaries to a livable floor. In 2016, Oklahoma’s average teacher salary was $42,460, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

West Virginia teachers have pledged to keep providing lunches and meals to students despite schools being closed, coordinating with superintendents to make sure backpacks of food are available to students who relied on them. One in four children in the state lives in poverty and experiences hunger, the highest rate in the country. 

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