West Virginia Wildcat
February 24, 2018 9:06 AM   Subscribe

“As soon as we called the work stoppage for Thursday and Friday our locals took it upon themselves to start working with churches and food banks and different places to provide day care for the parents who needed it, to provide meals for the many students who get their hot meals at school.” West Virginia Teachers Walk Out (Dissent) - All public schools in all 55 counties of West Virginia are closed until at least Tuesday as the teachers strike for smaller class size, higher pay, and benefits. Local support is high (The Guardian). An Open Letter to the State of West Virginia From Its Students (The Nation).
posted by The Whelk (68 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
The only way anybody could possibly think teachers don't deserve better working conditions is if they don't know any. Being such an integral part of our communities, I believe teachers need so much more support than they currently get from the system. I wish the educators of West Virginia nothing but the best and I hope this walkout helps them reach the people who don't understand what their working conditions are really like.
posted by dbx at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2018 [19 favorites]


Bravo to the striking teachers; your courage gives me faith for America's future.
posted by splitpeasoup at 9:27 AM on February 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


Less than $15/hour to teach? That's only a few bucks above minimum wage up here in Ontario after you adjust for different currencies. Are they going to get a raise when they're armed bodyguards, too?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:28 AM on February 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


For those who may not have RTFA: this is one of many states that have, outrageously, outlawed collective representation among all public sector employees. This strike is illegal: a brave act of civil disobedience.
posted by splitpeasoup at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2018 [75 favorites]


“I keep seeing this number thrown around—$45K is the average teacher salary. I’ve been teaching for seven years and I am nowhere near that,” Stone said. O’Neal added, “I moved here in 2015 and my second year teaching, I made less than my first.”
For a job which requires multiple degrees! The cost of living may be lower but that’s still just an insult.
posted by adamsc at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2018 [19 favorites]


Teaching's the hardest job I've ever done, and that includes factory work, farm work, food service, and office jobs that paid a lot more than any of the above. None of those other jobs required so much of me physically, emotionally, and intellectually, and definitely not all three at once.

I always compare it to being on stage eight hours a day, except that you're not just entertaining, you're attempting to educate, and to maintain an environment where education is possible. Teachers deserve better.
posted by asperity at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2018 [20 favorites]


I read some speculation that one of the reasons the teachers felt like they might be able to pull off a wildcat strike is that the pay is already so low that if the state actually fired all the striking teachers, it would be virtually impossible for them to find enough replacements to get the schools back even in a ramshackle fashion. Basically anyone remotely qualified who would be willing to work for the pathetically low salaries they're offering and in the horrible conditions they're forced to work in is already doing it.
posted by Copronymus at 10:56 AM on February 24, 2018 [35 favorites]


Are they going to get a raise when they're armed bodyguards, too?


Well, the Predator-in-Chief proposed giving teachers a bonus if they're willing to pack heat. So, if you want to feed and house your kids, you'd have to be ready to kill someone else's.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 11:22 AM on February 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Those kids wrote a pretty cogent letter; clearly, the teachers have been doing their jobs....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:35 AM on February 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


> Teachers deserve better.

Every parent in the world will tell you that parenting is the hardest job in the world, but a certain percentage of them will go on to tell you that teaching, well...those teachers sure do have it easy, amirite? Sure, there are some lousy teachers out there, but anyone who tries to sell the idea that teaching itself as a vocation is a cushy job for lazy people is either ignorant or malicious.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


I read some speculation that one of the reasons the teachers felt like they might be able to pull off a wildcat strike is that the pay is already so low that if the state actually fired all the striking teachers, it would be virtually impossible for them to find enough replacements to get the schools back even in a ramshackle fashion.

Yes, WV is a small enough state that you can live there and work in another one for better pay/benefits.
posted by Toddles at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Everyone thinks they're an expert on teaching because they went to school. It's like thinking you're an expert on medicine because you get sick (which a not insignificant percentage of people seem to think they are, if Facebook is to be believed). It's or continuing war on expertise. I don't know what to do about it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2018 [12 favorites]


The wildcat strike is the truest of strikes, and Taft-Hartley is an abomination that should be ignored by any union.

Direct action gets the goods.
posted by corb at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2018 [14 favorites]


Oh and while we're talking about supporting teachers, your GOP is quietly setting things in motion to eliminate both income-based repayment plans and public service loan forgiveness--two things which really help teachers. The roll back of income-based repayment plans was part of the House Higher Education re authorization bill (the PROSPER Act) which also eliminated the only federal investment in teacher training for special needs education. It eliminated Title II of the Higher Education Act which provides grants to state and local education agencies and institutions to strengthen the clinical components of teacher training and education. (Title II also ensures that all candidates are prepared to teach students with special needs and those learning English). The PROSPER Act eliminated TEACH grants.

But it was a 500+ spending bill which also included some good things--like streamlining the FAFSA. So there was no organized opposition to it. It was difficult to make a good phone script and blast that out to your local #Resist group. You could not just ask your Rep to "vote against the PROSPER Act" because giant re authorization acts don't really work that way. And when the Bar Associations as for help preserving PSLF and income-based repayment, people who are not part of their constituency don't care because they hear "lawyer" and think "rich"--they don't hear "A major move by the Obama administration to make higher education affordable and to ensure that highly educated professionals go to work in rural or under-served communities or go to work in civil and public service is being threatened".

I am very glad of this strike. And if you're a person who is regularly calling your MOCs and are inspired by this strike to call in support of our government supporting public education by supporting teachers, kindly tack on a sentence about your support of income-based repayment for student loans and public service loan forgiveness.
posted by crush at 1:48 PM on February 24, 2018 [15 favorites]


...it would be virtually impossible for them to find enough replacements to get the schools back even in a ramshackle fashion.

I kind of doubt state legislators give a single damn about ramshackle. They’ll either toss a bunch of teachers in jail, in an attempt to scare the rest into coming back. Or, they’ll just fire everyone and hire whomever applies, no matter what their experience or qualifications may be.

I also wonder how quickly conservative groups can roll-out ads trashing the teachers.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:31 PM on February 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just FYI because they always get forgotten, the unionized school bus drivers working for the district are also on strike.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 3:34 PM on February 24, 2018 [26 favorites]



I kind of doubt state legislators give a single damn about ramshackle. They’ll either toss a bunch of teachers in jail, in an attempt to scare the rest into coming back.


The fun thing about this is that the state leg can woodle on about this all they want - but teachers here are employed by their county boards - who hold local control. All 55 local school boards closed schools for Thursday and Friday, and at least 4 so far have called it for Monday as well. So the Repubs can yelp all they like about "Illegal Strike," but it doesn't fricken matter because the teachers have the support of their local boards. These out days will be treated like snow days - and tacked back on to the end of the regular calendar. Take that, douchebags!
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 4:56 PM on February 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


West Virginians mostly still support unions. It's the one thing that sets it apart from other post-industrial, Trump voting states. I haven't heard anyone speak against the teachers. If they want to they can hold out for a good while. In the meantime it's a fantastic wedge issue for the upcoming midterms. Much more unifying around here than social issues.
posted by irisclara at 5:46 PM on February 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


> Yes, WV is a small enough state that you can live there and work in another one for better pay/benefits.

WV is a hilly state so the roads are twisty and slow. The areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia bordering WV are also primarily rural Appalachia. I suspect that relatively few West Virginians have access to qualified job opportunities out of state that are less than an hour's drive away.
posted by ardgedee at 6:38 PM on February 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


As the grandson, son and husband of teachers - good. It would take extraordinary circumstances for me to not be behind a teacher's strike. My mom teaches in Florida under the same civil servant anti-strike measures. Unfortunately, Florida's a bit more attractive.

To me teaching - good teaching - is simultaneously the hardest and most important job out there. It sets so much of the stage for everything else
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:16 PM on February 24, 2018 [4 favorites]


My 4th grade English teacher, one of many who made a great positive impact on me, is 90 years old now. Her daughter posted a picture of her on Facebook yesterday and she looks great! That put a smile on my face. She was one of many teachers in mind when I made this comment after Sandy Hook that is unfortunately as true as ever today:

But to change the focus from guns for a minute, the actions of the teachers in this (and many other school shootings, including last month's in Nevada) were beyond heroic. I think of them whenever I hear someone putting down teachers as lazy, incompetent, union-protected obstructionists who are responsible for all the shortcomings of education in this country. Among my many ex-military friends one of the highest compliments you can pay someone is to say "I'd take a bullet for that guy". Well these teachers, who as far as I can tell are not really different from most of the teachers in this country, did take bullets for their students. Those actions speak a lot louder than the criticisms so often leveled at teachers by would-be eduction reformers (who really just want to cut funding and/or privatize schools rather than improve them).

I hope the teachers in WV succeed beyond their wildest dreams and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
posted by TedW at 5:07 AM on February 25, 2018


Echoing soren_lorenson and corb. Best of luck, and solidarity, to the fine folks on strike in WV.

(This feels close to home; my colleagues and I are doing this right now. Education [in the Anglosphere, at least] has been so comprehensively fucked with in our lifetime that it's slightly hopeful-making to see that maybe there's an epidemic of resistance afoot.)
posted by busted_crayons at 6:29 AM on February 25, 2018


The powers that be can talk a great talk about public education. But the fact of the matter is that a well educated public is seen by the ptb as the single greatest threat to their positions of wealth and power. Yeah. Go ahead and accuse me of being paranoid. But their children will never be found in public schools.
posted by notreally at 7:19 AM on February 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Not to link to my won Tumblr but ....from an excerpt from Vietnam And Other American Fantasies has Nixon’s key educational advisor working for the Regean campaign telling them to defund public colleges to prevent creating an ‘educated proletariat’. Soon after the CA and NY state college systems where gutted.

They know exactly what they’re doing and why. Which is why I also think it should be hard as hell and insanely expensive to run a private school.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 AM on February 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


The strike continues - thread with links on who to follow for updates
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 AM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


The strike, day 3 NPR
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 AM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Day 4 has been announced....
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 2:07 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]




Pittsburgh teachers call for strike
posted by The Whelk at 1:43 PM on February 27, 2018


Pittsburgh teachers call for strike

My son, a Pittsburgh Public Schools student, and I stopped off for appropriate strike provisions yesterday. Strikes are still legal in Pennsylvania (as evidenced by our average teachers' salary coming in at 20 grand over West Virginia--and I will note that our cost of living is not appreciably greater than West Virginia's--most of the state is rural, like WV--that's how bad WV's salaries are. Twenty! Grand!), but I do hope, for the sake of families who rely on school-provide services, that the union can negotiate a favorable contract before Friday.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:03 PM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Good for the teachers in Pittsburgh! Teachers all over America deserve better than they get! However, I don't think strikes are the main difference for the pay discrepancy. PA has a economy. WV, not so much. If we even had one city the size of Pittsburgh or Philly things might be different.
posted by irisclara at 3:46 PM on February 27, 2018


Go TEACHERS! Fighting not only for themselves - but the rest of State workers too! Solidarity, ya'll!
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2018


.@WVGovernor announces end to Teachers strike.
—Teachers will go back to work on Thursday.
—Tomorrow will be a “cooling off day.”
— All state employees get 3% raise.
— Teachers and educators getting 5% raise in first year.
posted by The Whelk at 4:47 PM on February 27, 2018 [4 favorites]


Still no PEIA fix. The teachers are talking about going back out if need be.Some don't believe the raises will really happen, either.

For a little comic relief, watch my Rep. rail about the opossums getting more legislative time than the teachers.
posted by irisclara at 5:28 PM on February 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah my first thought was “that doesn’t seem, like enough” but having the sword of strikes hanging over people’s heads could push more change further, or even just a return to strike if not met.
posted by The Whelk at 5:46 PM on February 27, 2018


Some more details on the West Virginia deal which sounds very preliminary.

Looks like the PIttsburgh Public School district and the teachers' union have come to an agreement also.
posted by octothorpe at 5:03 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is very disappointing. The Governor is a liar who switched parties after the election. He got the Democratic nomination so I voted for him as a good Democrat. I should have voted Green Party instead. He and the Legislature are in the pocket of the extraction industries. They will refuse to do anything that might help West Virginians or prepare us for a competitive future. They don't even care that our best and brightest are leaving as soon as they turn 18. All that matters is the oil and gas money.

Good Luck, Teachers! You're gonna need it.
posted by irisclara at 8:27 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Looks like it’s not quite over
posted by The Whelk at 2:46 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


That's what I'm hearing, too. Teachers want the Legislature to do something before they go back to work. Legislators don't intend to do anything. I expect they'll be out tomorrow in most counties.
posted by irisclara at 5:15 PM on February 28, 2018


26 school so far won’t open tomorrow
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 PM on February 28, 2018


45!
posted by The Whelk at 6:25 PM on February 28, 2018


50!
posted by The Whelk at 6:35 PM on February 28, 2018


54 counties will remain closed tomorrow

Strike not over.
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


55! and now begins the spontaneous singing of soildarity forever!
posted by The Whelk at 7:43 PM on February 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Woo hoo! Although I heard it was the service workers union *mainly bus drivers, who turned the tide when teacher union leaders were willing to bend. Don't let up until the session closes ! Keep their noses to the grindstone!
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 8:49 PM on February 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Never trust a promise unless it's in law or a contract - and even then, be ready to strike.
posted by corb at 11:52 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is there anything that Republicans can't cock up? Senator Unger is saying that ALL West Virginians should come to the Capitol tomorrow...... Walk out is still on for Friday, County Superintendents continue to support their staff. (a miracle) West Virginia used to be reliably blue...... let's get back to our roots.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 1:11 PM on March 1, 2018


The Stike Is On interview
posted by The Whelk at 1:31 PM on March 1, 2018






To save all of your heart rates, that is a tax on coal and gas, NOT a strike spreading to various industries and a possible WV general strike.

In related news, that was the fastest emotional roller coaster of my life.
posted by corb at 8:40 AM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


If the Supreme Court rules against unions, conservatives won’t like what happens next


West Virginia Teachers Didn’t Want to Strike. Now They Won’t Stop
Some said they also felt responsible to the teachers who planned to keep striking, because they wouldn’t cross a picket line. “Even though they said that we’d go back on Thursday, nobody was ready to go at any school that I visited – and I visited a lot of schools,” said history teacher and local union officer Greg Phillips.

This kind of workplace turbulence could become more common if the Supreme Court gets rid of mandatory fees, a decision that would make more of the country “right-to-work.” Many states legalized collective bargaining and mandatory fees in hopes of averting wildcat disruptions and securing “labor peace,” and they largely have.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:54 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]






This strike is getting so little press. I live less than an hour from WV and I don't think that I would have heard about the strike if it weren't for Metafilter.
posted by octothorpe at 10:28 AM on March 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


The lack of press has officially moved from “no one cares” to “active conspiracy against organized labor” in my mind.
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on March 3, 2018 [5 favorites]




PBS Why I’m On Strike
posted by The Whelk at 12:33 PM on March 3, 2018






I was in a bookshop during my weekend mental health break in Louisville and overheard the cashiers talking about THE LATEST! with the WV Teacher's Strike. I bounded up and got the straight dope from a grizzled old guy and his colleague who was probably about 50 years his junior.

Never in my life have I felt more warm and fuzzy towards a bookshop.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:15 PM on March 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


SCENE: Sunday, at a bar at but not my local.

I am describing the WV and soon? to be? OK teacher strikes to the elderly bartender with mostly no customers. I say how I want it to go national, no state actually pays public school teachers what they're owed. They should all strike.

"That sounds a bit Bolshevik"

"I'm a bit Bolshevik"

He puts an overturned shot glass by my Guinness.

We have allies everywhere.

(I'm a syndicalist if you get down to it, but you know, labor creates all value)
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 PM on March 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


and soon? to be? OK teacher strikes

I don't know the provenance of this account, but:

@Oklahomateachersunited on Facebook:
AND WE ARE STRIKING!!!!!!!!We've just received word that superintendents across the state have met and they intend to support our strike!!!! WE DID IT!!!!
posted by ragtag at 4:16 AM on March 5, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Capitol was at capacity today, with the bill slated for committee at 4 PM, they shut down admissions at 12. No more room? Human chain around the Capitol!
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 2:46 PM on March 5, 2018


Strike extended to Tuesday
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on March 5, 2018


A New Struggle Coming, Jedediah Purdy
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:07 PM on March 5, 2018


Blair said lawmakers would pay for the raise by cutting state spending by $20 million, taking funds from general services and Medicaid.

We have to vote these people out. My guys are good but the majority aren't.

The company man is not your friend.
posted by irisclara at 7:11 PM on March 6, 2018




« Older "Not today, asshole!"   |   More nudity than expected Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments