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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Study: Bargaining doesn’t raise teacher pay

Oklahoma teachers could be the next to strike.

Collective bargaining doesn’t improve teacher pay, according to a new study, reports Madeline Will on Ed Week.

Thirty-three states passed mandatory collective bargaining laws since the 1960s. Those states do typically have higher teacher salaries and higher per-pupil education spending, but they already did so “well before the emergence of collective bargaining rights or modern teacher unions,” the study found.

States offered collective-bargaining rights to weaken public-sector unions’ power to strike, said Agustina Paglayan, the study’s author.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule against mandatory “agency fees” for public-sector workers who choose not to join unions in the Janus case. If so, unions will lose members, money and clout. However, the West Virginia teachers’ wildcat strike has shown that teachers can get what they want without going through a union.

Strikes are possible in Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma, reports Dana Goldstein in the New York Times.

In Arizona, teachers clad in red, the color of the teacher protest movement, have conducted a series of #RedforEd demonstrations demanding higher pay. In Kentucky, teachers have organized rallies to protest proposed cuts to their pensions. And in Oklahoma, where teachers have not had a raise from the state in a decade, they have vowed to go on strike on April 2 if the Legislature does not act to increase pay and education budgets.

In Los Angeles Unified, the employee unions are gearing up for a strike vote and pushing for a constitutional initiative to increase school funding, writes Mike Antonucci. He thinks the union wants to get as much as it can before the Janus decision weakens its bargaining power.

Unions may become “more activist as legislatures and the Supreme Court turn against them,” but activism doesn’t signify strength, writes Leslie Finger in Education Next. “Rather, new labor actions will come from employees who have lost their allies in power, their institutional protections, and, as a result, their manpower and resources.”

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