A strike is a strike and then there’s West Virginia.

ct-met-bruce-rauner-scotus-janus-afscme-20180226.png
Bruce Rauner at the Supreme Court Monday supporting Janus.

It’s against the law for teachers to strike in West Virginia.

I know that because state Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey said it was.

On Feb. 21, Morrisey tweeted, ” ‘The impending work stoppage is unlawful and should come to an end.’ — Patrick Morrisey.”

The strike did come to an end yesterday because the governor agreed to a salary boost to all state workers of 3% this year and 5% to educators.

The law is the law. And then there is the example of West Virginia.

The governor also made a promise to address the issue of health care costs. The cost of health care was the issue that pushed teachers over the edge and shut down schools in every single county in West Virginia.

The last time West Virginia teachers went on strike was in 1990. But that resulted in scattered shut downs across the state.

West Virginia is a Right-to-Work-for-Less state. It has been since 2016 when Republicans in the West Virginia legislature overrode the governor’s veto of a right-to-work bill.

And, like many state teacher unions across the country, West Virginia’s NEA and AFT affiliates have not always shown the spine their members may have wished for.

But rank and file teachers took the lead on this, pushing their state union leaders to take a stand in a state that ranks 48th in teacher compensation.

Since yesterday Republicans in the state legislature have already expressed opposition to the deal that allows teachers back in the classroom.

Union leaders have said they will walk out again if promises to increase compensation and fix the broken health insurance system are not kept.

Union leaders said Tuesday night that Mr. Justice’s promises were enough to get the teachers back into classrooms, at least for now.

“We needed evidence — the teachers needed evidence, the service personnel — and I think this is a commitment, this is a beginning of better things to happen,” Ms. Campbell said. Her group organized the strike along with the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association.

She said the teachers had tried to keep their demands realistic.

“They don’t want to be first in the country in pay,” Ms. Campbell added. “They know where we live — in West Virginia. They want to be out of 48th.”

Dale Lee, the president of the West Virginia Education Association, did not rule out another strike if the deal with the governor falls through.

“We reserve the right to call our teachers and service professionals out at a later date if we need to,” Mr. Lee said.

At the very same time that teachers were rallying at the state capitol in Charleston, U.S. Supreme Court judges were hearing arguments over the right of unions to collect dues for fair representation.

The Janus case, as it is known, is financed by a group of right-wing organizations including the Illinois Policy Institute.

Also funding the attack on unions is our Governor, Bruce Rauner, who attended the Supreme Court session where the case was argued.

The Court is expected to rule against labor.

But the law is the law. And then there’s the example of West Virginia.

Quincy teachers vote to strike.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-8-48-55-am

Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Personnel president Jen Drew.

Quincy, Illinois is about 300 miles southwest of Chicago on the Mississippi River.

Teachers there belong to the Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Personnel.

Union members have voted to strike on January 17th.

The issue is fair compensation.

WGEM:

Quincy Public School and the Quincy Federation officials walked away from over seven hours of negotiation without a contract agreement, and union officials announced the strike date – January 17.

The announcement came after after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, following a marathon session of negotiations. Quincy Federation Teacher Subgroup President Jen Drew says with this strike, it will effectively shut down the district.

Officials say they tentatively agreed on all the language items for the contract, but could never reach an agreement on compensation. Drew says the union feels disappointed heading out of the final scheduled meeting.

“Disappointed in that we feel like what we’re asking for is a fair wage for our employees,” Drew said. “We feel like the numbers are correct and that they’re able to offer us what we’re asking for.”

Board President Sayeed Ali says the sides took big steps forward, but not enough to make a deal happen.

Messages of support can be sent to the Quincy Federation.

Teachers on strike in Prospect Heights.

ct-prospect-heights-teachers-on-strike-video-20150916

“There were 151 out of 152 members walking the line this morning,” a teacher told me.

Members of the Prospect Heights Education Association, an NEA/IEA affiliate, are on strike.

“Members are staying strong and united but the board is refusing to meet,” I was told.

As a result parents are faced with their kids losing instructional time. There are 1,500 students enrolled in Prospect Heights District 23.

Teachers in PHEA have never been forced to strike before.

The issue is salary.

Union representatives tell me that they are only $150,000 apart. But with the board refusing to schedule another bargaining session, it is hard to see how students will be back in the classroom before the weekend.

The PHEA web site can be found here.

Members of our Skokie Organization of Retired Educators (S.O.R.E.), IEA Retired, will be doing strike support  on the picket lines on Friday at 10AM.

We are meeting at 700 North Schoenbeck Road in Prospect Heights.

All retired teachers should feel free to join us.