Red states revolt? Another teachers strike may be brewing in Oklahoma

Oklahoma teachers may be joining their West Virginia counterparts in striking for fair wages and benefits

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 5, 2018 4:13PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/John Raby)
(AP Photo/John Raby)

It looks like the defiant spirit that caused teachers in West Virginia to strike for a higher income and better health care coverage could be spreading to Oklahoma.

The underlying issue in Oklahoma is teachers' pay, according to Tulsa World. Although Oklahoma teachers have been lobbying the state legislature for a pay raise, the most recent bill that could have achieved that result — which it would have done by giving them a $5,000 annual pay increase — was defeated last month, according to the local news affiliate News 4. By Sunday, thousands of people were sharing a post on Facebook from an account called Oklahoma Teachers United which declared a strike and argued that "we've just received word that superintendents across the state have met and they intend to support" their protest, according to News 4. The network spoke with a representative from the Oklahoma Education Association who claimed that the individual behind the Facebook post is not affiliated with their organization.

"Nobody wants to see this but, like I said before, teachers are tired of being hushed. They’re tired of their voices not being heard, and they’re tired of empty promises. Drastic measures are sometimes what it comes to," Tulsa teacher Teresa Danks, who has created a petition advocating a teacher walkout, told News 4.

Even as Oklahoma teachers consider a strike, their West Virginia counterparts continue to work with the state legislature in the hope of finding a solution that can send them back to school. It has now been eight days since the strike was declared and the sticking point remains the extent to which teachers' salaries and health care benefits will be increased, according to West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Thousands of teachers have amassed in the Capitol to demand a 5 percent increase in their pay and insist that they are not flexible on that number. Although the West Virginia House of Delegates approved that amount, the State Senate reduced it to a 4 percent increase, which was rejected.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Oklahoma Teachers Strike West Virginia