Blanc: It’s Oklahoma’s Turn to Strike

Labor News

Oklahoma teachers rally on March 15 ahead of an April 2 strike date. @KGrumke / Twitter

Reprinted from Jacobin by Eric Blanc on March 30, 2018.

“The historic victory in West Virginia has inspired teachers and staff across the United States,” writes Eric Blanc in Jacobin. “Marches, rallies, and sickouts in defense of public schools have spread to KentuckyArizonaWisconsin, and beyond. Whether this movement becomes a bona fide strike wave will depend to a significant degree on what happens in Oklahoma over the coming days.”Demanding major increases in pay and school funding, Oklahoman educators are set to strike on April 2. The similarities with West Virginia are obvious. In a Republican-dominated state with a decimated education system and a ban on public employee collective bargaining, an indignant workforce teetering on the edge of poverty has initiated a powerful rank-and-file upsurge. But history never repeats itself exactly. To strike and win, Oklahoma workers will have to overcome a range of distinct challenges and obstacles.
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“Years of austerity have devastated Oklahoma’s education system, as well as its public services and infrastructure. Since 2008, per-pupil instructional funding has been cut by 28 percent — by far the worst reduction in the whole country. As a result, a fifth of Oklahoma’s school districts have been forced to reduce the school week to four days. …

Jacobin 3/30

About Jeffrey Burman 4004 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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