Thursday, 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.
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 WV’s “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 following two Resolution were passed to refocus attention on the Oklahoma and Kentucky teachers’ wildcat walkouts
Resolution of Solidarity and Respect for the
Professional Public Educators of Kentucky
WHEREAS, the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA, affiliate of the GREEN PARTY of the UNITED STATES, enacted a resolution in support of the West Virginia teachers, school service personnel, and state employees, and stood in solidarity with the West Virginia teachers, school service personnel, and state employees;
WHEREAS, the Legislature of the COMMONWEALTH of KENTUCKY attempted by legislative fiat and political ruse to alter the pension plan for teachers of the COMMONWEALTH of KENTUCKY by concealing modifications to the pension plan of the COMMONWEALTH of KENTUCKY in a public sewer services bill, designated SENATE BILL 151;
WHEREAS, an attempt was made by the Legislature of the COMMONWEALTH of KENTUCKY to enact these pension reforms without debate or time to read the COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY SENATE BILL 151 prior to advancing the bill to the floor;
BE IT RESOLVED that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA stands in solidarity with and support of the teachers and other employees of the COMMONWEALTH of KENTUCKY as they petition the Legislature of the COMMONWEALTH of KENTUCKY for redress of the injustice wrought upon them by Kentucky Senate Bill 151;
BE IT RESOLVED that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA calls upon the KENTUCKY GREEN PARTY to take an action similar to this resolution;
BE IT RESOLVED that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA calls upon the GREEN PARTY of the UNITED STATES to take an action similar to this resolution.
RESOLVED and ADOPTED
authored by Danny Lutz, 16th District State Executive Committee, MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA
Resolution of Solidarity and Respect for the
Professional Public Educators of Oklahoma
WHEREAS, the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA, affiliate of the GREEN PARTY of the UNITED STATES, adopted a resolution in support of the West Virginia teachers, school service personnel, and state employees as they sought meaningful increases to salaries and wages from the Legislature of the State of West Virginia;
WHEREAS, teachers in the STATE of OKLAHOMA have petitioned their Legislative bodies for salary in creases;
WHEREAS, the Legislature of the STATE of OKLAHOMA has granted salary increases:
WHEREAS, the Legislature of the STATE of OKLAHOMA has reduced funding for educational services, materials, and support to offset the salary increases;
WHEREAS approximately 20% of the school districts in OKLAHOMA operate only four days per week;
BE IT RESOLVED by the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA stands in solidarity with the teachers of OKLAHOMA, and supports and endorses their petition to redress the grievances the teachers have with the OKLAHOMA Legislature;
BE IT RESOLVED by the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA that no teacher in America should ever have to dedicate personal resources to assure needed supplies and support materials are available in classrooms, unless such teachers desire to do so;
BE IT RESOLVED by the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA to call upon the Legislature of OKLAHOMA to assure that each school district provides sufficient instruction time for each student that the schools can be properly accredited by the accrediting bodies;
BE IT RESOLVED that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA calls upon the GREEN PARTY of OKLAHOMA to adopt a similar resolution to this one;
BE IT RESOLVED that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA calls upon the GREEN PARTY of the UNITED STATES to adopt a resolution similar to this one.
RESOLVED and ADOPTED
Authored by Danny Lutz,
16th District State Executive Committee,
MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA
*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 full collective bargaining rights.
In contrast, back when Dems were still controlling the Statehouse, Mountain Party leaders adopted draft legislation which, upon passage, could have compelled the Governor and Statehouse leaders to negotiate in good faith with West Virginia teachers. Unfortunately no Statehouse leaders of either ruling Party has ever recognized the need.
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