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Oakland, California teachers walk out as unions sabotage West Virginia strike
by Jerry White (WSWS Repost)
Thursday Feb 21st, 2019 7:50 AM
Oakland's teachers walkout began as unions sabotaged the two-day strike by 33,000 teachers and school employees in West Virginia.

The unions are not working class organizations, but instruments of the ruling class.

Oakland teachers must draw the sharpest lessons from these experiences if their struggle is not to be isolated and betrayed.
Oakland, California teachers walk out as unions sabotage West Virginia strike

By Jerry White
21 February 2019

Three thousand teachers in Oakland, California began a strike at the end of class yesterday to demand increased pay and a reduction in class sizes. They are also opposing plans by the Democratic Party controlled school board to slash funding and close as many as one third of the schools in the district. The strike is the latest in a wave of strikes by educators against the bipartisan assault on teachers and public education.

The Oakland walkout began as unions sabotaged the two-day strike by 33,000 teachers and school employees in West Virginia. The West Virginia teachers walked out Tuesday to oppose legislation that would introduce the state’s first ever charter schools. None of the issues that provoked their nine-day strike last year have been resolved.

During a press conference Wednesday night, the leaders of the West Virginia affiliates of the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) said they were sending teachers back to school Thursday because of a bipartisan effort to back Republican Governor Jim Justice’s “clean” bill that would not tie a five percent pay raise to charter schools, school privatization or the requirement that unions to get annual permission to deduct dues.

WVEA President Dale Lee and AFT-WV President Fred Albert praised Justice, a billionaire coal baron who has championed tax cuts to the energy industry that have bled the public schools and other state service dry. Justice’s funding bill will do nothing to do address miserably low teacher pay, chronically underfunded schools and impossibly high out-of-pocket health care costs, which triggered last year’s walkout.

Aware of the deep opposition among teachers and fearful of a repeat of last year, when striking teachers revolted against union orders to return to work based on similar worthless promises, Lee and Albert claimed they were only following the orders of their members to end the strike.

“We have been in touch with our members,” Albert said. “Overwhelmingly they wanted Senate Bill 451 to be dead, and their work in capitol was done… I have heard over and over, that I am going to act in their best behalf and that I would never do anything to betray their trust.” Even as reporters asked about teachers in the coal mining areas such as Mingo County defying the order, Albert said hopefully, “As we came out united and strong, we need to go back united and strong.”

The decision provoked a firestorm of anger from educators on social media denouncing the sellout by the unions.

Read the rest of this story at the World Socialist Website. Jerry White was most recently the Socialist Equality candidate for the United States presidency in 2016.
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WSWS Supports Nuclear PowerThe Plot ThickensThursday Feb 21st, 2019 11:06 PM
Unions are not "insturments of the ruling class."Retired Union WorkerThursday Feb 21st, 2019 2:55 PM

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