Recent West Virginia bill declaring work stoppages as unlawful is a ‘waste of space’

On Mar. 2, bill SB 11 passed (53-46) through the house of delegates stating that work stoppages or a strike by public employees are unlawful. Work stoppages were already declared unlawful in 1990 by the Supreme Court. This bill is just a waste of time and energy.

Aaron Allen, a West Virginia Highschool Teacher at Valley Highschool, said, “…What the bill’s basically saying is they can’t close the county and continue to pay you during a strike like they did during the last two strikes. It’s just union-busting, but it doesn’t matter because the teacher’s unions in West Virginia are so weak they don’t need to be busted…They are extremely weak here…And the fact that they didn’t fight anything with Covid means that they are not going to fight anything political now. I shudder to think what education in West Virginia is going to be in five years. To the point that as soon as I can get out, I am.”

If an employee goes on strike, they not only don’t get paid. This bill also “recommends termination”. Teachers already don’t get paid enough. It’s like the governor just wants them to give up on our children. This is ridiculous.

Tara Byard, another Valley educator, said, “…At first, there was a part of it that said that there could be no extracurricular activities. Which would basically be punishing the kids for not being able to play sports if teachers are on strike…They did take this out…because it looked like they were using students as pons in their political game. By doing that, they realized that it is still going to happen anyway. And passing a law like this isn’t going to change the things that they haven’t done. Like they haven’t fixed our healthcare like they promised and continue to push charter bills…It just seems like a waste of time when it’s already been stated in the court case that we weren’t supposed to strike anyway…In West Virginia we say union but it’s not a union. They are associations. They don’t have the power of unions.”

This bill is just a distraction to what’s important. It seems like West Virginia’s officials are not interested in education. Why else would they talk about something that was already established in 1990? Stop worrying about stopping strikes, or teachers will start looking for jobs elsewhere. Education has always been important, but it seems like most people in charge couldn’t care less. Education is not a political game.