Denver teachers continue strike ahead of talks with district authorities

The strike by the teachers of Denver, seeking fair wages and better support for education, began on February 11. Talks will be held between the Denver Class Teachers Association and Denver Public School authorities on February 13

February 13, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Students and members of the community have been joining the pickets in great numbers in solidarity with the teachers.

The negotiations between the striking Denver teachers and the Denver Public School (DPS) authorities will continue on Wednesday, as the strike enters its third day. The teachers started their strike on Monday, under the leadership of Denver Class Teachers Association (DCTA), demanding fair wages. An earlier round of negotiations between the DCTA and DPS authorities on February 12 was unsuccessful.

The DCTA has called on teachers to join pickets at schools across the city, from 6:30 to 9 am on February 13, prior to the negotiations scheduled at 10:00 am. Meanwhile, educators and community members in the southwest will march from Pasquinel’s Landing Park, and demonstrate at the intersection of Broadway and Evans. DCTA also called for a rally at the Civic Center Park at 1 pm. They will also march to the DPS administrative building at 2 pm.

In its press release, the DCTA said, “On February 12, in a growing show of our strength, more educators joined their colleagues on the picket lines to stand up for the schools their students deserve. Students at North, East, West and other high schools chose to stand in solidarity with their teachers and walk out of school to join picket lines and marches.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, charter school teachers in Chicago, under the leadership of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), marched to the Loop office of Kwame Raoul to urge the Illinois attorney general to investigate the charter network’s finances. Teachers at four chartered schools in Chicago went on strike on February 5, after failing to reach renewed contract agreements with the Chicago International Charter School (CICS) authorities.

In Oakland, the local chapter: 1021 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) declared their support to the Oakland Education Association (OEA). On February 4, the OEA voted in favor of strike action, demanding a smaller class size, student support and living wages from the Oakland Unified School District’s management of Oakland public schools.

Regarding the Oakland teachers’ strike, Nick French told Jacobin, “The charter school movement is also an assault on teachers’ unions: one of the last bastions of organized labor in the US. Charters are usually non-union, allowing them to impose more work for lower pay. The wealthy have a strong material interest in paying teachers less, since that means lower taxes; they also have an interest in a weaker labor movement generally. It’s no coincidence, then, that attacks on unions are central to pro-charter advocacy.”

Over the past year, teachers in many US States have gone on strike, seeking better pay, more funds for education and better amenities at schools. Strikes have taken place in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and Washington, among others. Earlier this month, the teachers of Los Angeles went on strike and won a victory when the district education authority agreed for a 6% wage hike.