Teachers’ union in Denver votes to strike for fair wages

The call for strike was given by Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), which represents about two-thirds of Denver Public Schools’ 5,600 educators.

January 24, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
A supermajority of teachers, around 93% of the members of the union, voted in favor of the strike

On Tuesday, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) voted for strike action, demanding fair wages. DCTA represents about two-thirds of Denver Public Schools’ 5,600 educators. The union started the voting on Saturday and announced the results on Tuesday night.  

In a news conference, union negotiator, Rob Gould, said that the “Denver teachers overwhelmingly agreed to strike… They’re striking for better pay, they’re striking for our profession and they’re striking for Denver students.” He also added that around 93% of the DCTA members voted in favor of the strike.

The union had been negotiating with the district for 14 months to overhaul the compensation system, which they said is directly linked to the city’s teacher turnover rate. They decided to vote on strike action after failing to reach an agreement with the district on Friday. The strike will start from Monday, January 28.

DCTA has already given a call for crowd funding for the strike. “Teacher turnover is higher in Denver than in any other district in the state. To combat this, DPS educators have been negotiating for fair pay for over a year. These educators include our classroom teachers, support teachers and specialized service providers such as nurses, social workers, etc.,” they said.

Associated Press reported that the main sticking point was increasing base pay, including lessening teachers’ reliance on one-time bonuses for things such as having students with high test scores or working in a high-poverty school. Teachers also wanted to earn more for continuing their education.

Teachers in the USA are taking forward last year’s “Red4Ed” movement from West Virginia, which spread to other states, such as Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and Washington. It moved from the conservative states to the more liberal West Coast with strong unions. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the teachers’ union of Los Angeles ended their strike, started on January 14, as the district education board agreed for a 6% wage hike.