Solidarity with the teachers fighting for dignity

May 3, 2018

Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain, a Quebec-based organization affiliated to Confédération des syndicats nationaux and representing nearly 100,000 members, issued this statement of solidarity with the struggle of educators across the U.S.

IN THE past few weeks, the wildcat strike by West Virginia teachers for better working conditions has been widely covered by the media. Despite "right to work" legislation and other legal, financial and social obstacles, the teachers of this small state, the third poorest in the country, have had the courage and the audacity to lead a hefty struggle so that their state's political class had no choice but to agree to their demands. They were successful in getting a 5 percent salary hike that will benefit the state's whole public sector.

In an era when the American labor movement is weakened by years of neoliberalism, a struggle like that of American teachers is likely to breed hope of a renewal in trade unionism south of the border and inspire the labor movement everywhere in the West. Rank-and-file members took control of their own struggle, protested, occupied public spaces and, doing so, monopolized media attention. They showed that collective mobilization and organization of the union members can be powerful and effective. The example given by West Virginia teachers came in due time, and has already had the effect that similar strikes are now within grasp in other states, including Colorado and Kentucky, where teachers have been active for weeks. In Oklahoma, the teachers were recently victorious, and massive strikes are now taking place in Arizona. To all our American brothers and sisters, we offer our heartfelt solidarity.

Striking teachers celebrate after the announcement of a victory in West Virginia
Striking teachers celebrate after the announcement of a victory in West Virginia

Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain (CCMM-CSN) salutes the victorious struggle led by West Virginia and Oklahoma teachers, and wishes to see such initiatives repeat themselves everywhere workers are fighting for their rights. Collective mobilization of rank-and-file union members, which defines the type of trade unionism practiced by CSN, largely contributes to the renewal of labor organizations. For this reason, CCMM-CSN will at all times support workers fighting for respect, dignity and recognition of their work. The current struggle of American teachers is an opportunity to reaffirm it without ambiguity. Solidarity to our struggling brothers and sisters!

Dominique Daigneault
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN

Bertrand Guibord
Second vice president
Political representative on education issues
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN

Madeleine Ferland
Head of the education committee
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN

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