Keeping retirement real. The teacher revolt train moves on. Next: Kentucky!

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Kentucky teacher Randy Wieck.

The teacher revolt train keeps rolling on.

Next stop: Kentucky.

The issue: Pensions.

Kentucky teacher Randy Wieck has been telling us about it for years.

Randy has not just had to fight the state of Kentucky on the issue of pensions. He has battled his teacher union leadership.

And even now. With thousands of teachers jamming the state capital, the Kentucky union leadership is warning caution.

The showdown comes at a time of growing unrest among public educators across the country, led by thousands of West Virginia teachers who walked off the job for nine days to secure a 5 percent pay raise from the state legislature. Teachers in Arizona and Oklahoma are considering similar action.

In Kentucky, some teachers say they are willing to strike. But Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, said striking is illegal in Kentucky. She said the only way it could happen is if superintendents agreed to close the schools.

“We hope it doesn’t have to come to that,” Winkler said, adding: “Anything’s possible.”

A teacher strike was illegal in West Virginia. But it didn’t matter.

In West Virginia, a right to work state since 2016, union leaders urged caution too. They were leaders who could not bring themselves to lead.

The lesson for every politician and Supreme Court justice: Taking away collective bargaining and the right to strike will not bring you labor peace.

Kentucky teachers are not fighting for a pay raise or health benefits as in West Virginia.

Kentucky teachers are telling lawmakers not to change their retirement benefits. The state is at least $41 billion short of what it needs to pay retirement benefits over the next 30 years.

But unlike Illinois, Kentucky has no constitutional pension protection.

But they can strike. Even if it is a wildcat strike. Even if the leaders preach caution.

4 thoughts on “Keeping retirement real. The teacher revolt train moves on. Next: Kentucky!

  1. Are the Superintendents and Principals, and other administratos in the same pension? I’ll bet they are.

    So if 40,000 (or whatever #) teachers go out on strike, is the responsible, student-safety action NOT to close the schools?
    Admins will likely, overtly or covertly, support the teachers.

    Causes of the shortfall, the potential broken promises to teachers, and the justice of teacher anger must become the narrative. I hope they do it.

  2. It seems to me what all these union leaderships/state education associations do is freely take teachers’ dues and then try to guilt their membership if they want to take action and see results. Sort of like what IEA tried to do us in the ‘priaire state’ with their mantra of “sharing the sacrifice” a few years ago. Thank goodness the IL Retired Teachers’ Association [IRTA} had our back and fought for us to retain what was promised to us. IEA was more than willing to send us down the river without a paddle and so are other state educational associations with their memberships. The long and short of it is that teachers aren’t going to take it any more and the union leadership better wake up and smell the coffee.

  3. The key point is ALL or almost all the teachers statewide need to walk out at the same time. If just some areas or some from a given district walk out, it will be ineffective, and the ones that do walk out could be fired. Also, they need to be clear on what they want from the state in order to go back to work, with no retaliations. For Kentucky teachers, that is the only way they can protect their pensions. The ONLY reason we here in Illinois still have our pensions intact is because of the pension protection clause in the Illinois constitution.

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