Meanwhile, school districts in parts of Kentucky are closed again today, after thousands of teachers in Kentucky began calling in sick last Friday. The wildcat strike comes after Republican lawmakers rammed through legislation last week that dramatically cuts retirement benefits for public employees. The pension rollback came as part of an amendment to a nearly 300-page bill about sewer system regulations. It was passed in a matter of hours on Thursday with no public hearings and before most lawmakers had a chance to read it. As the legislation sped through Kentucky’s House and Senate, hundreds of teachers protested inside the state Capitol, chanting “Vote them out!” This is Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler.
Stephanie Winkler: “There will be no more bills like that after November. We have to fight for every single new teacher. You can tell me all you want, ’It’s not going to hurt you.’ If you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us!”
This year’s wave of teacher rebellions began in West Virginia, where teachers won a 5 percent pay raise after a historic strike. The protests have inspired teachers in other states, including Arizona, where union members are threatening to strike unless their demand for a 20 percent wage increase is met.