Socialist Worker

Teachers stay out in Oklahoma after union leaders tell them to end their strikes

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2600

 
Oklahoma teachers are continuing to fight for funding, despite union leaders telling them to return to work

Oklahoma teachers are continuing to fight for funding, despite union leaders telling them to return to work (Pic: Cara O'Connor Henson)


Teachers and other education workers in Oklahoma, US, are continuing strikes and protests for better pay—despite union leaders’ attempts to sell them out.

Last Thursday the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) told teachers to go back to work.

Its president Alicia Priest said, “Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol and spilling out onto the grounds of this Capitol for nine days, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday.”

That was when the Republican governor signed off the state budget, which included a £4,000 pay rise for teachers.

Strikers say that’s not enough, they want almost £7,000 plus millions in extra funding for education.

Priest went on to call for a vote for the Democrats in the November state elections. But despite her pleas, the strikes continue.

“The OEA doesn’t get to decide when I’m finished,” said Oklahoma teacher Renee Jerden. “I feel like it’s a cop-out.”

A poll on the Oklahoma Teacher Walkout Facebook page on Sunday showed that 88 percent of respondents supported continuing the walkout.

Some teachers are ripping up their union membership cards, others are using up holiday and sick days to attend demonstrations in the state capitol this week.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky teachers have been protesting over their pensions.

Teachers have shut down schools in 39 school districts by requesting time off to attend protests at the state capitol.

Teachers and other workers across the US are watching Oklahoma as an example of the potential to win by using strikes.


Mixed message on march in Hungary

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of towns and cities across Hungary against Victor Orban’s right wing government last Saturday.

Around 100,000 protested in the capital Budapest.

Orban’s racist party Fidesz won the general election earlier this month. He ran a vicious antisemitic campaign targeting the European Union (EU), the United Nations and banker George Soros.

He can now push through constitutional changes that strengthen his power.

Dangerously the fascist Jobbik party was also on the protests opposing Orban.

It has tried to present itself as more respectable. But its aim remains to build a fascist movement that can smash democratic rights.

It is now the official opposition because the Labour-type MSZP’s vote collapsed.

There was talk on the protests of a single opposition candidate in each constituency against Fidesz next time.

That would mean in many cases everyone lining up behind Jobbik.


Israel kills more Palestinians

Israel continued its violent repression of Palestinian protests and resistance in the Gaza Strip, with live fire, shelling, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed 28 year old Islam Hirzallah during a protest at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip last Friday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said 968 Palestinians were injured on the protest, with live fire and tear gas inhalation.

Israel has killed 32 people since the protests began last month. Protesters are demanding Palestinians’ right to return to the land they were expelled from in 1948.


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