Several Colorado school districts cancel class for teacher walkouts this week

Monday April 23, 2018

DENVER — School districts throughout Colorado are canceling classes either on Thursday or Friday as hundreds of teachers get ready to walk out.

The teachers are planning on heading down to the state capitol to protest for more school funding, better pay and for the Public Employee Retirement Association system known as PERA to be fully funded.

Read the full story from ABC 7 Denver

The Third Major Red-State Teachers Strike of 2018 Will Start Next Week

Friday April 20, 2018

Spurning a pay raise offer from Governor Doug Ducey as too narrow and inadequately funded, Arizona teachers voted to walk off the job on April 26. Of the 57,000 teachers and school employees who participated in a vote organized by the NEA affiliate (the Arizona Education Association) and the grassroots group Arizona Educators United, 78 percent voted to strike.

The planned action is the culmination of weeks of protests by teachers (under the rubric “#RedforEd,” as supporters were urged to wear red to show solidarity) who decried low pay and years of tax-cut-driven education funding cuts. As in states where earlier teacher protests and walkouts have occurred (West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma), the Arizona action is a direct response to the fiscal policies Republicans have pursued in states they firmly control.

Read the full story from New York Magazine

Oklahoma Teachers End Walkout After Winning Raises and Additional Funding

Thursday April 12, 2018

Saying it had achieved all that it could with a walkout, Oklahoma’s largest teachers’ union on Thursday called for educators to return to the classroom and to shift their efforts to supporting candidates in the fall elections who favor increased education spending.

At a news conference, Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, characterized the nine-day walkout as “a victory for teachers,” even as it fell short of its goals.

In a deep-red state that has pursued tax and service cuts for years, teachers won a raise of about $6,000, depending on experience, while members of schools’ support staff will see a raise of $1,250.

But the biggest pieces of legislation passed before the walkout, not during it, and Ms. Priest acknowledged that many of the protesters’ demands for more schools funding would not be met, because, she said, Republicans in the State Senate would not consider additional revenue sources.

“We got here by electing the wrong people to office,” Ms. Priest said. “We have the opportunity to make our voices heard at the ballot box.”

Read the full story from The New York Times

Massive Oklahoma teacher protests enter second week

Monday April 9, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma lawmakers were returning to the state Capitol on Monday as teachers in the state’s largest school districts entered a second week of massive demonstrations to demand more education funding.

Teachers, students and supporters were again expected to flood the Capitol. Leaders of Oklahoma’s largest teacher’s union have said protests will continue unless lawmakers approve a repeal of a capital gains tax exemption and the governor vetoes a repeal of a proposed lodging tax.

Read the full story from Associated Press

Teacher strikes shut down schools across Oklahoma, Kentucky

Monday April 2, 2018
By Kaila White, Thomas Novelly and JOHN BACON | USA TODAY

Classes were canceled Monday for hundreds of thousands of students across two states as striking teachers rallied at Capitols in Oklahoma and Kentucky to demand improved funding for education.

The walkouts come less than a month after teachers in West Virginia ended a nine-day strike that shuttered schools there.

Larry Cagle, an English teacher at Thomas Edison Preparatory High School in Tulsa, was one of thousands of teachers gathered at the Capitol in Oklahoma City.

“We’ve gotten tired of begging for everything,” said Cagle, a co-founder of Oklahoma Teachers United. “Teachers, students and the community have decided enough is enough.”

Oklahoma ranks near the bottom among states in average pay for its teachers. The teachers are striking despite a $6,100 pay raise signed into law last week by Gov. Mary Fallin. Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest called the legislation a “down payment.”

Read the full story from USA Today

Memphis sanitation workers went on strike 50 years ago. The battle goes on

Monday February 12, 2018

It was 50 years ago today that two black sanitation workers in Memphis were crushed to death on the job. Soon after, hundreds of their brothers went on strike demanding the recognition of their union and fair pay, and to assert their own basic humanity. The strike commanded the attention of the nation and became a driving force of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign.

Standing with working people fighting for a strong union was King’s final public act before his assassination. “We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end,” he told the sanitation workers the night before he was shot dead.

Each day of the two-month 1968 strike, workers marched from Clayborn Temple to Memphis city jall. They stared down mace and teargas, police dogs and the barrels of shotguns, all while wearing signs that proudly declared: “I AM A MAN.”

Read the full story from The Guardian

N.Y. Teamsters form ‘sanctuary union’ to fight ICE agents

Saturday February 10, 2018

Worried about federal immigration policies, a New York labor organization is taking steps to protect its own.

Across Long Island and throughout the city, some 120,000 Teamsters are getting prepped to become a “sanctuary union.”

In 27 shops, business agents, supervisors and front-line workers are getting schooled on their rights under U.S. law — and when and how to challenge federal immigration agents who show up to search their work sites.

The training is complex and technical — hinging on specific types of warrants and the definition of a raid.

But in fundamental labor terms, it follows one simple rule: Union solidarity first, immigration status second.

Read the full story from New York Daily News

Justice in the factory: how Black Lives Matter breathed new life into unions

Saturday February 10, 2018

After decades of decline unions have found a new champion in efforts to organize workers: the Black Lives Matter movement.

Unions have suffered as manufacturing has moved south away from their old strongholds in the north of the US. Membership rates were 10.7% in 2016, down from 20.1% in 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time the shift from manufacturing to service industry jobs has hurt them too.

But as the Black Lives Matter and other social justice campaigns increasingly focus on economic justice, unions see a new opportunity. And ironically, a series of defeats for labor in the south is helping to fire up recruitment drives and attracting international support in the process.

Read the full story from The Guardian

Fast-Food Workers Claim Victory in a New York Labor Effort

Tuesday January 9, 2018

With labor unions seeing their influence wane, more than 200 organizations have sprouted nationwide to help low-wage workers. But nearly all these groups say they are hampered by a lack of dependable funding because, unlike unions, they cannot rely on a steady flow of dues.

To the dismay of many business groups, New York City enacted an innovative law last year that many labor advocates hope will become a model to finance such organizations across the nation.

Under the law, fast-food employees who want to contribute to a nonprofit, nonunion workers’ group can insist on having the restaurant they work for deduct money from their pay and forward that money to the group. But before a group can receive these contributions, it must get 500 workers to pledge to contribute.

One such group, Fast Food Justice, planned to announce on Wednesday that 1,200 New York fast-food workers have signed pledges to contribute $13.50 a month to the organization.

“This has been a lot of hard work, but we think this is great,” said Shantel Walker, who works at a Papa John’s in Brooklyn and is a member the new group. “We want to bring change not only in the fast-food industry, but in our communities.”

Read the full story from The New York Times

Port trucking companies risk lives by putting sleep-deprived truckers on the road

Sunday December 28, 2017

Every day, port trucking companies around Los Angeles put hundreds of impaired drivers on the road, pushing them to work with little or no sleep in violation of federal safety regulations, a USA TODAY Network investigation found.

They dispatch truckers for shifts that last up to 20 hours a day, six days a week, sometimes with tragic results.

Read the full story from USA Today