Solidarity with Oklahoma educators and public workers and their April 2 strike!
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We, the undersigned educators around the U.S. and internationally, stand in solidarity with the 150,000 educators and public workers in Oklahoma who are set to strike on April 2.
After suffering 11 years without a pay raise, Oklahoma teachers are among the lowest-paid educators in the United States. Along with their union, the Oklahoma Education Association, they are demanding $800 million in school funding and pay increases from the state legislature by that date or they will strike. In addition, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association announced its members would strike at that time if the legislature fails to approve a $213 million increase in pay for its members.
This strike comes on the heels of the stunning strike victory of 20,000 educators from West Virginia. Their nine-day strike won a 5% pay increase for all educators and public workers in the state. This victory has inspired and electrified educators and workers all over the country.
On March 16, members of the Jersey City Education Association struck against the rising costs of healthcare as well, taking a stand after working for months under an expired contract. Educators in Arizona are likewise organizing a statewide campaign for higher pay, lower healthcare costs, and smaller class sizes. They are mobilizing for a "Teach-In at the Capitol" in Phoenix on March 28 that will likely draw thousands.
In the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, teachers’ unions are organizing against the Governor’s plans to privatize the island’s public schools by opening up charter schools and funding vouchers. Leaders in Puerto Rico’s Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico have expressed solidarity with West Virginia teachers.
Educators in other parts of the world are engaged in similar struggles against austerity and privatization. In the United Kingdom, 42,000 lecturers, researchers, librarians, technicians, and other campus workers are currently striking at more than 60 universities and colleges against plans to end guaranteed pension benefits.
Across the country and world, educators face similar issues due to years, if not decades, of underfunding of our schools. In the face of these struggles, they are organizing in solidarity with each other to demand an end to austerity. The West Virginia educators have shown the power of a united statewide strike. Now, Oklahoma educators are preparing to demonstrate this with their own historic strike.
We call on our fellow educators and colleagues at public schools, colleges, and universities to support Oklahoma educators by signing this solidarity statement and, if possible, supporting the Oklahoma educators’ strike fund. The attacks against public education unite us, and now we need to unite in struggle as well. When we stand in solidarity with our fellow teachers, counselors, librarians, instructional assistants, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other support staff, we win.
Together, we declare: Enough is enough! An injury to one is an injury to all! Solidarity with Oklahoma educators! Solidarity with educators, school staff, and public workers across the country and world! When we fight, we win!
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