Home > Uncategorized > Wildcat Strikes are a Teachable Moment: What Will Voters Learn?

Wildcat Strikes are a Teachable Moment: What Will Voters Learn?

I’ve been reading countless articles about the wildcat strikes teachers are launching in “right-to-work” states across the country, starting in West Virginia and spreading now to Oklahoma and Kentucky… and I’ve reached the conclusion that these strikes are a teachable moment… and the lesson teachers could be offering is: The “Right to Work” is really a “Right to Offer as Little as Possible” to employees so that shareholders can earn as much as possible. If that lesson is learned by voters in these “right to work” states, they would oppose the practices the legislature is trying to impose on teachers and follow their lead: unite to seek a living wage, decent benefits, safe working conditions, and an assured pension. Most of the workers had these assurances at one time and they could have it again IF they supported each other.

In KY the lesson should be: “The coal mining companies should not have gotten away with stealing your pensions; making you work as at-will employees, and compromising your safety to reward shareholders.”

In OK the lesson should be: “Look at how much revenue the state is losing to provide tax breaks to oil companies who already receive government subsidies.”

If teachers don’t use this opportunity to teach voters that all workers are in this together, the voters will only learn the lessons the legislature wants to teach: “…teachers are greedy moochers who want us to raise your taxes to pay them.” And one lesson I believe voters all learned from 2016: the politics of resentment can be a potent force. I hope that politics of support for each other can overcome the politics of resentment.

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