One of the most effective weapons that workers have is to walk off the job collectively.
That power has led to some of the most notable gains for workers over the past 100 plus years.
Yet there are only 12 states in the U.S. that do not prohibit teacher strikes. The other 38 states expressly ban them. Is it any wonder that teachers are paid so poorly in 2019?
This map, courtesy of the National Education Association, shows where teachers can and can’t strike.
Of course, teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, and Oklahoma walked out recently. They did so through work actions, where they gathered the support of the communities and administrators so that the schools would close.
These work actions, however, are no substitute for strikes.
“Work actions such as those seen in West Virginia, however, are difficult to implement, given that it takes the coordination of not only teachers but also superintendents, boards of education and community members,” writes Kate Cimini for the Medill News Service.
In addition, teachers who participate in work actions face the possibility of arrest and fines.
If we want real change for teachers, it’s time to get rid of the laws that are keeping their salaries so low.