News & Politics

Oklahoma Teachers Plan for Strike Following Big Union Win in West Virginia

"Schools will stay closed until we get what we are asking for," said the union president.

Photo Credit: PBS Newshour

After West Virginia teachers achieved an impressive win by going on strike and forcing the governor to raise their pay by 5 percent, Oklahoma teachers are gearing up for their own fight.

“We cannot—no, we will not—allow our students to go without any longer,” Oklahoma Education Association president Alicia Priest said, according to TulsaWorld. “If the Legislature doesn’t pass $6,000 teacher pay raises and necessary revenue to pay for them…OEA is calling on every Oklahoma teacher to leave their classroom and come to the Capitol.”

Oklahoma's teachers haven't received a raise in 10 years, according to Education Week.

In total, the state teachers union is seeking a $10,000 raise for teachers. They would receive $6,000 in the first year and $2,000 more for each of the following two years.

If the union is not satisfied with an agreement by April 2, the teachers will strike.

The strong stance shows a confidence and strength many feared to be lacking from union groups. Strikes, one of the most powerful tools in the union repertoire, have helped fuel progress for workers for generations, but their power has been waning in recent decades. 

With West Virginia teachers' recent success—even in the face of an anti-strike law—teachers across the nation are feeling emboldened.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.