Last week, I was invited by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs to meet with state legislators regarding the recent teacher strikes in Oklahoma.
On Feb. 26, union attorneys told the United States Supreme Court that, “(Agency) fees are the tradeoff. Union security is the tradeoff for no strikes. And so, if you were to overrule Abood(v. Detroit Board of Education, thus making union dues payment optional), you would raise an untold specter of labor unrest throughout the country.”
Also in February, the Oklahoma Education Association and the Oklahoma American Federation of Teachers facilitated teacher walkouts to call for wage increases – after that state’s Legislature approved a 16 percent raise for teachers.
Lawmakers and other policy observers were concerned the constitutional obligation to provide for education was being disrupted needlessly by the unions, and the Freedom Foundation is a national leader on issues related to the undue influence of public-sector unions.
I described to attendees our understanding of why unprecedented strikes are happening in right-to-work states, and what can be done to protect education from teacher strikes. The Freedom Foundation has much to say on both subjects, and Labor Policy Analyst Maxford Nelsen’s recent analysis, “Are recent teacher strikes targeting Janus v. AFSCME?” was of great interest to lawmakers and political observers.
In this analysis, Nelsen exposes how the National Education Association’s general counsel has acknowledged that strikes in right-to-work states are helpful to “put the Supreme Court on notice as it considers a ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.”
And he restates the threat labor unions are making:
“If the court . . . constitutionally enshrines a nationwide ‘right-to-work’ law throughout the public sector, educators, other public servants and the communities they serve won’t be silenced. What’s happening in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona could be coming soon to a state capitol near you.”
The investment required to generate a major protest is massive, and I’m confident of the NEA’s central role in funding these “spontaneous” examples to for the court’s consideration.
Lawmakers were not pleased to discover the machinations in Oklahoma to disrupt schools and spit on a 16 percent raise could have been mere theater for the unions’ court arguments.
While in Oklahoma, I met with former Freedom Foundation VP Trent England for a conversation about the union racket, what the court is considering in Janus v. AFSCME, why teachers were prodded to strike in Oklahoma after getting a 16 percent raise, and what happens next.