Teachers Are Striking Across the US as the School Year Restarts

This article was originally published on Waging Nonviolence. As students across the country return to their classrooms for the 2022-2023 academic year, teachers and other employees have been raising the alarm over widespread staffing shortages, low pay, safety concerns and unfair contracts. On Monday, over 500 staff members at American University in Washington, D.C. kicked off a five-day strike demanding higher wages and equitable pay structures after weeks of failed contract negotiations between the university and SEIU Local 500, which represents the workers. Many of the striking workers serve as advisers for first-year students, including Roshan Abraham. The employees first…

Schools Are Facing Shortage of 300,000 Teachers and Staff, Major Union Says

National Education Association president Becky Pringle on Thursday warned that the U.S. teacher shortage has spiraled into a “five-alarm crisis,” with nearly 300,000 teaching and support positions left unfilled and policymakers taking desperate — and in some cases, questionable — measures to staff classrooms. Pringle told ABC News that teachers unions have been warning for years that chronic disinvestment in schools has placed untenable pressure on educators as they face low pay and overcrowded classrooms. “We have a crisis in the number of students who are going into the teaching profession and the number of teachers who are leaving it,”…

Resident Physicians Are Unionizing. They Must Challenge For-Profit Health Care.

Resident physicians are unionizing around the country. Most recently, residents at University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM), Stanford Medical Center, and Keck School of Medicine of USC all voted to join the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), which is part of the larger Service Employees International Union (SEIU). These wins come despite ongoing pushback from the hospital bosses. This resistance is coming because hospitals know unionized resident physicians will be harder to exploit. More residents should fight to unionize to protect themselves and the care of patients, and in the process of winning unions, they should extend their fight…

NLRB Needs Funding Influx to Defend Labor Rights Amid Organizing Upsurge

On March 28th, the Biden administration released its budget proposal for 2023: a $5.7 trillion dollar proposal including surprising elements, such as a proposal for a new tax on billionaires and funds for a 4.6% pay increase for federal employees. Buried within the massive proposal was a key item for labor advocates: a significant increase in funding for the National Labor Relations Board, from $274 million to $319.4 million. The NLRB has been one of the few bright spots of the floundering Biden administration. General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, a former attorney for the Communications Workers of America, has moved aggressively…

Instead of More Support, Schools Have Upped Demands on Teachers During Pandemic

In June 2020, when schools across the U.S. remained closed due to the pandemic, Bettina Love, author of We Want to Do More Than Survive, noted how much became possible when the system was forced to prioritize the lives of students, teachers and families. Laptops were distributed and internet access was provided. High-stakes, standardized tests were canceled. In many cases, grades were removed. She quoted a letter from a superintendent in Georgia who told teachers, “We want compassion over compliance.” Now, Love concluded, “We have to say that we’re not going back. The managing of inequalities, we’re not going back.”…

Amid Staffing and Mental Health Crises, Teachers Say Test Prep Is Wrong Priority

This article was first published at Labor Notes. In mid-October six fights broke out in one day at Lawrence High School in Massachusetts. Police were called and arrests made. For those inside the school, this was shocking, but not surprising. “The unrest is the students’ way of screaming out, ‘We need help,’” said high school English teacher Kristin Colucci. “Their social and emotional needs are not being met.” Since the return to school buildings in September, teachers and students say the stress and fragility are palpable. Lawrence High is so understaffed that sometimes students show up to a classroom and…

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