The teachers’ strikes in West Virginia may have been an inspiring success story for the labor movement, but the state Republican party is far from done trying to wage war on teachers.
According to Think Progress, the West Virginia State Senate passed an education bill today that included an amendment, voted on yesterday, which would ban all public worker strikes. This is because they are sensitive snowflakes who cannot handle that they got their asses handed to them by teachers two years in a row.
It’s worth noting that public sector strikes are already illegal under current law in West Virginia; the last two strikes, however, have been overwhelmingly supported by parents and the school districts themselves. The bill in its current form would go further: not only would strikes be banned, but those who do strike could have their pay withheld or even be fired, according to the Charleston Gazette Mail.
The measure is wrapped into an omnibus education bill that would revive the 5 percent pay raise that died in February, according to Think Progress. Teachers would get their raise, but lose any right to strike to secure such raises in the future. It would hobble entirely what has proved to be the most successful and effective method of exerting control over their lives.
The bill still has to pass the House of Delegates, which won’t be in session until June 17. But it’s a sign of the party’s commitment to breaking teachers’ power, and of the continuing battle for teachers to get the pay raises, benefits, and resources they deserve.
The bill would also allow the legislature to “amend and outright reject policies that the state Board of Education passes,”according to the Charleston Gazette Mail. And it would allow charter schools, a provision that was the reason for the teachers’ strike of this past February, which lasted only a few hours. According to WDTV, Gov. Jim Justice told reporters on Sunday that “it would be preferable for the GOP proposal to be broken up so lawmakers know what they’re voting for.”
I believe it would be preferable for the GOP to fuck off and give teachers the money they deserve without trying to siphon off public funds into charter schools. But you do you, Jim.