Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Shout-outs... West Virginia wildcat strike [Updated]

“We’re furious,” said Spanish teacher Jenny Santilli.  “All hell is breaking loose.”

Updated Thursday, March 1 -- As of Wednesday afternoon, W. Virginia teachers and school workers are still on strike. Rank-and-file union members rejected the agreement reached between WVEA leaders and Gov. Justice and have shut down all 55 school districts in, what is now, a wildcat strike. 

Turns out, the strikers apparently don’t trust the the promise made by the governor will be accepted by the Republican legislature, and fear that increased health costs could wipe away their raises. The deal didn't include a fix to the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA), which employees say requires them to pay premiums that are too high. That so far remains a major sticking point.

Today marks the 6th day that the militants have kept the schools closed. 

Earlier: First, a shout-out to the teachers of West Virginia who showed us all the right way to respond to Janus and the latest wave of attacks on workers and their unions. Their three-day strike ended with teachers winning a 5% pay raise. West Virginia ranks 48th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in teacher pay, according to the National Education Association.

From Splinter:
While 5% is a mere hair’s width higher than a standard, annual cost of living wage adjustment, it’s actually a huge victory for the teachers. [Gov.] Justice initially offered them a pitiful 1% salary increase, which would amount to about $400 annually. And just three weeks ago, the West Virginia State Senate rejected a measure to increase teachers’ wages by 3% annually. So it’s clear that union power and strike power did what it’s supposed to do. When you see that, you understand why conservatives are pushing so hard to destroy unions.
WBEZ-- Activist Jitu Brown speaks at a press conference on Monday, Feb. 26 about a Chicago Sun-Times report that key supporters of closing four Englewood high schools don’t live in the community and have contracts with Chicago Public Schools. He and others called on CPS to cancel Wednesday’s planned Board of Education vote on the plan.

Next, a salute to Chicago parents, students and community activists in Englewood who are fighting valiantly to to save the last remaining public high schools in their community. As the community struggle against the latest round of school closings gains momentum and takes on a national focus, Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked schools CEO Janice Jackson are up to their old tricks again.

Remember when Rahm was paying folks off the street $25/ea. to be bused in to City Hall as fake  counter-protesters when real school/community members were protesting the mayor's mass school closings.

Now, community members protesting the latest round of school closings are being confronted by a group supporting the closings, appearing at the meetings in matching West Englewood Coalition hats and sweatshirts. They're supporting the plan championed by new CPS CEO Janice Jackson to close Harper, Hope, Robeson and Team Englewood high schools. But when questioned about who was behind them and where they’re from, it became clear that many weren't school/community members at all, but rather a rump group organized by some CPS contractors.

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