WV Mountain Party Backs OK & KY Outlaw Teachers
April 13, 2018 – Last week public school teachers throughout Oklahoma and Kentucky courageously followed the example of West Virginia’s educators, by committing to statewide wildcat* strikes. Between 2008 and 2015, per-student education spending in Kentucky fell by 11.4 percent; in Oklahoma, by 15.6. In both states, as in West Virginia, lawmakers paired disinvestment from education with tax cuts for high-earners and business interests.
WV Governor Justice (R-CoalBaron) came up with what turned out to be a low-ball offer, which teachers flatly rejected. It was probably because earlier in the year Justice had been pushing for tax cuts on the inventories of his many extraction industries.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2018
Mountain Party of West Virginia
For more information contact:
Tom Rhule, Communication Director, 304-989-1629, [email protected]
Statehouse leaders stalled negotiations after the teachers ignored their Union leaders and refused to return to work. When WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey volunteered to help Districts force teachers back to work, Mountain Party leaders passed a Resolution voicing support for the "outlaw" educators. Our subsequent Press Release focused the attention of media on the plight of WV teachers, and thanks to the coordinated national recognition from the Green Party US, together we helped pressure state lawmakers back to the negotiation table.
The two Resolutions were passed to refocus the attention of the media on the Oklahoma and Kentucky teachers' wildcat walkouts and spur their respective Statehouses to do right by them.
*Wildcat (aka "outlaw") strikes have become necessary to focus lawmakers because in States that never codified the right for teachers to strike, any Association (or Union) successfully leading a strike automatically places its very existence in legal jeopardy. Primarily because the Association can be sued for damages caused by sanctioning a non-legal strike. Including being required to reimburse Districts for the scabs hired to babysit students during the walkout.
Although most American laborers have the right to strike, but not teachers in WV. KY or OK. That's because when State lawmakers originally considered whether or not to grant them that right, the decision to deny it was generally based on the argument that a quality education may only be achieved if an uninterrupted curriculum is followed. Legislators have also claimed that teachers' services to communities are on a plane with State Police and First Responders. Which makes sense, up to a point because lawmakers then tend to also underpay far too often. Mainly because they realize that those dedicated and valuable service providers cannot legally stage a group walk-out.
West Virginia's regulations governing collective bargaining rights for teachers have remained essentially the same for generations. Back in 1990. which was the last time they walked out, ironically governor Gaston Caperton (D-Coal Baron) was lead negotiator for a Statehouse that was controlled by Democratic leaders. Ironically, during the recent teacher wildcat, even though WV Dems claimed that they supported the teachers, none even mentioned introducing viable legislation to grant teachers their right to full collective bargaining rights.
The Mountain Party drafted legislation years ago which, upon passage, would compel future Governors and Statehouse leaders to negotiate in good faith when dealing with West Virginia teachers.