Is a Teacher Strike Looming in Tennessee?

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Teachers’ strikes in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia last year, as well as a walkout in Denver last month, have raised questions about whether Tennessee teachers might pursue a similar course.

Now, a new activist group seeking to encourage teachers to engage in a work stoppage in Tennessee, has some policy makers wondering whether a teacher strike could happen sooner rather than later. In fact, the Tennessee Education Report, run by liberal Democrat activist Andy Spears, appears to be encouraging a teacher strike in the state with four recent “calls for action.”

Teacher strikes have been illegal in Tennessee since 1978, but they are also unlawful in other states where teachers walked off their jobs. Teachers in Tennessee who participated in a strike would be subject to discipline, up to and including the loss of their jobs. Last year, when the prospects of a teachers’ strike in Tennessee arose, Tennessee Education Association (TEA) lobbyist Jim Wrye dismissed the threat posed by Tennessee law saying that if a large number of teachers walk off the job “you can’t fire everybody.”

One of the activists promoting the strike agenda is also not dissuaded by the letter of the law. “They aren’t God’s laws,” Labor Notes union organizer Chris Brooks (a former TEA staffer) recently told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“They can be broken. Districts don’t have the resources they need, teachers don’t have the resources they need. Teachers are leaving in droves. The idea that if thousands go on strike, districts will fire them is laughable.”

Should such wildcat strikes commence in Tennessee, new Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn will face a significant challenge in determining the proper course of action.

And the TEA will face its own set of challenges, as well, since supporting such wildcat strike actions could threaten its own legal standing in the state, and publicly opposing them could limit its support among radical teachers.

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Photo “Teacher Strike” by Brad Perkins.







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10 Thoughts to “Is a Teacher Strike Looming in Tennessee?”

  1. […] Union-favored forces in Tennessee are hinting at an illegal teacher strike in the Volunteer state.  If there is a strike, it will be certain Professional Educators of Tennessee members will not be on the picket lines.  Check out the story in The Tennessee Star. […]

  2. […] The Tennessee teacher’s union, TEA, can’t seem to get out of their own way. Not only are they out of touch politically with most Tennesseans — with opposition to gun rights, funding for abortion groups, and support for Hillary Clinton — but they have also positioned themselves far to the left of their own members. This week they went “all in” and handed control of the parental choice debate to the most radical voices in their own organization who also seem to be encouraging an illegal strike that could cost teachers who join them their jobs. […]

    1. Mac Pickle

      The fact that teachers can’t strike might be challenge able in that they gave up the right to strike with the Professional Negotiations Act in 1978. Memphis teachers were excluded from that provision of non – striking by the Legislature. Due to the gutting of Professional Negotiations by the State Legislature and subsequent Governors., there may be a legitimate way to strike, due to that abrogation. TEA is a professional organization that works for the good of teachers, students and Tennessee Families. It has since the early 1900’s and still does.

  3. […] An activist group, Tennessee Education Report, has ramped up its efforts in encouraging teachers in the state to strike through a series of three posts in as many weeks on its blog, as The Tennessee Star reported. […]

  4. Aries98999

    Oh please. Don’t complain about teachers being underpaid. Do people ever extrapolate how many hours teachers are actually paid for working. It’s at most 9 mos of the year. So, take 2080 hours in a working year times 75%, that equals 1,560 hrs, divide that by the annual salary and you will find the hourly rate isn’t too bad. Don’t forget to add in pensions, paid benefits like healthcare, vacation and sick time and you can tack on another 40% in pay. How many private companies allow workers to accumulate vacation and sick time over years. Not many for sure. Then when a teacher finally retires they have potentially have additional years of salary. I’m sick of teachers talking like they are “professionals” yet can’t get by without tenure or a union and refuse to recognize merit as a means to promote themselves. They need to be protected? From whom? Those of us in the private sector aren’t protected. If our work environment doesn’t suit us we either get a new job or are fired. That’s the way it works for “professionals”. And if you think I don’t know the educrats agenda then think again. I did teach for a bit in a really strong union controlled state. Teachers are whiners. I doubt that most teachers would survive in the private sector. And don’t whine about the constraints of government controls, who do you think has lobbied and pushed for these government controls. Well the national union for teachers of course. As they say, those who can’t do…..teach.

  5. over the mountain man

    Everyone wants a great education system but no one wants to pay for it. You get what you pay for, great teachers are leaving because the inmates are running the asylum. Students bare zero responsibility for their education and are allowed to commit unthinkable crimes, activities and deviant behavior that was unheard of when their parents were in school. Teacher pay is stagnate and no one wants to work in a mess like that. Personal responsibility for students and parent and fair pay for teacher fixes 90% of the problem.

  6. Over the Mountain Man

    There is a teacher shortage now. Who will you replace them with?

  7. Charles Cureton

    While there are negatives to any job, what are the complaints of teachers? Persons went into the teaching profession knowing there were going to be hard times. Also, they were aware, I assume, some students would be hard to deal with.
    And again I assume they wanted to educate students. Otherwise, they would have chosen another profession.
    And going on strike is illegal in Tennessee. So therefore, what kind of example are teachers setting for students by breaking the law and even more, going on strike which is hurting the students who want to learn.

  8. lb

    Any Teacher Strike should be met by a response like Reagan: FIRE them and hire replacements. If school gets delayed for a few weeks–so be it

  9. 83ragtop50

    The selection of Commissioner Penny Schwinn does not encourage me to believe that a teacher strike would be handled well. President Reagan proved that you can indeed fire everyone when he fired the striking air traffic controllers. The same thing should a happen to any Tennessee teachers that choose to break the law.