News Release

Wave of Teachers’ Strikes: Kentucky and Oklahoma


MIKE ELK, mike.elk at, @MikeElk
Currently in Oklahoma, Elk is the senior labor reporter at Payday Report and just wrote the piece “Wave of teachers’ wildcat strikes spreads to Oklahoma and Kentucky” for the Guardian.

He writes: “On Friday, teachers in Kentucky went out on illegal wildcat strikes in more than 25 counties against the wishes of union leaders to protest against draconian changes to the state’s … pension plans. …

“While Oklahoma has the country’s lowest tax on oil and natural gas production, teachers’ salaries remain stubbornly low, at 49th in the nation.

“The strikers have been buoyed by a successful strike by their peers in West Virginia, their first statewide work stoppage since 1990, which ended with them winning a 5 percent pay rise and other concessions.”

Berlin is vice president of the the Jefferson County Teachers Association in Kentucky. She said today: “We thought we killed this ‘reform’ bill twice and then they attached some of it to a sewage bill, appropriately enough. They passed it in record time from committee to both houses. That was done illegally, they didn’t have the required actuarial analysis — so there will be legal changes. Today is the last day of the session and they’re trying to pass a budget. We want them to fund education by closing loopholes. There’s a strong push to give money to charter schools even though they don’t have the funding for that. … We don’t want a regressive tax. Teachers will be meeting in Louisville beginning Wednesday.”