In a move that constitutes a profound betrayal of the American education system and the people who make it function, state senators in Colorado are considering a piece of legislation that would allow public schools to pursue court injunctions to prevent teachers’ strikes.
Teachers who ignored the injunction could be fined and face as much as six months in jail. They would also be subject to immediate firing, reports Denver7. Additionally, payment to teachers would be banned “for any day which the public school teacher participates in a strike.”
The vile legislation was introduced by Representative Paul Lundeen (R) and State Senator Bob Gardner (R), continuing their party’s long, storied history of despising labor movements as well as public education. The move is nothing more than an attempt to suppress teachers’ wages, which are already so criminally low as to make it near impossible to survive off just an educator’s salary.
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The proposed bill comes amidst plans by Colorado teachers to stage a walkout later this week as a sign of solidarity and a demand for better education funding and higher wages, joining their comrades in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
Similar protests have cropped up in other states all across the nation in recent months. These teachers deserve our support. They should be able to survive and live comfortably so that they can focus on shaping new generations instead of on how they’re going to afford their rent.
The disgusting bill must be seen in the context of a larger, decades-long campaign by the GOP to erode the power of unions, neuter collective bargaining, and give employers supreme power over employees. These efforts are gnawing at the core of the American Dream, and have played a huge part in the gradual evaporation of the middle class.
Until these Republican machinations are stymied, wealth will continue to flow from the majority of Americans into the coffers of the super-rich. We must unite behind the working class, and teachers’ unions are the first, most pressing battlefield.