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Striking Out

I wonder what it would take to get US teachers upset enough to walk out on a one day strike.

In France, secondary teachers did just that over government plans to eliminate their right to reduced teaching hours.

Officials want to do away with a provision which says that the sponsor of an activity outside the school day has the time spent deducted from their weekly quota of teaching hours.

Teacher unions (15 of them?!) claimed that under the plan, 100,000 teachers would have to work an extra two to three hours a week. The ministry of education could also eliminate 2800 jobs.

Doesn’t France mandate a short work week already, something like 35 hours or less?

In many districts in the US, teachers who manage certain extracurricular activities (mostly coaching sports) get paid something for that time, although rarely at their regular pay rates.

Would you rather have the time instead?

france, teacher, strike

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3 Comments

  1. b

    As a PE/Health teacher and soon to be coach, I’d walk out if everyone else did.

  2. A decade ago or more, I would have taken the pay, but after 30 years of teaching, and because of my age (57) time is more precious than anything else.

    I’m an English teacher working as Technology Coordinator for Chicago Public High School. I put in numerous unpaid hours regularly, although I’ve tried to cut back on my long hours. I’ve never been asked to stay late; I just do because there is work to do. On very rare occasions has my principal offered to pay me to stay after school. Usually it is for no more than 10 hours in a pay period. He has done this twice in four years.

    During the past decade our Union has allowed the Board of Ed. to take back some of our contractual rights we fought for by striking in the past. This was our concession to reform, which has turned into greater consolidation of our mayor’s power. I would welcome a strike, if only to create greater unity among teachers. Anyway, we end up paying for it ourselves, because the school year gets extended. If it improves any of the conditions under which we work and offers benefits to our students, it is worth any sacrafice we end up making.

  3. You would never be able to do it, even if you got both national affiliates endorsing it.

    Why?

    Some states are right to work states, and union membership is voluntary there. Striking for a day would weaken their power. Members would ask, “How will this help me? What exactly am I forfeiting a day’s pay for?”

    Other states have no-strike legislation in place like New York with the Taylor law. As soon as you call it a strike, you (the rank and file) and your local get fined, and it can be a substantial fine.

    Other locals have a continuous performance pledge (mainly NEA affiliates), meaning they will not strike while a current contract is has not expired. Not everyone’s contract is up for renegotiation at the same time, like everyone in the US House of Representatives are up for reelection every two years. In fact, contract negotiation among all the locals in the US are more like the Senate– a continuous body. Besides, if they (the local) do strike, that’s a violation of their contract and will have serious repercussions the nex time around at the bargaining table.

    In France, they’ll strike if the wind is blowing the wrong way. I think it was Homer Simpson who called them “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”.

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