As teachers continue their strike in Columbus, UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman visits the polls

As teachers continue their strike in Columbus, UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman visits the polls


For more information on Will Lehman’s campaign for UAW President, visit WillforUAWPresident.org.

More than 4,500 teachers, nurses, librarians and other educators continue their massive strike in Columbus, Ohio. The Biden administration, fearing the departure of Columbus will spark a broader movement of educators against the dangerous reopening of schools, social equity and austerity, is intervening with a federal mediator in a bid to end the strike before teachers can assert their demands.

A pick-up line at an inner-city high school

On Wednesday, Will Lehman, the socialist presidential candidate of the United Auto Workers, toured the line and issued a statement calling on UAW workers, including all teachers and other sections of the workforce, to mobilize in support of the striking Columbus teachers. “In their defense of public education,” Lehman said, “they are fighting for the interests of all working people. They cannot win this fight alone.”

The district, which is controlled by the Democratic Party, is pushing for real pay cuts for educators, offering an insulting raise of 3 percent a year for three years below 8.5 percent inflation, and a one-time bonus of $2,000.

After 23 rounds of negotiations that failed to reach an agreement, neither the Columbus Education Association (CEA) nor the district has released a statement about the resumption of negotiations ordered Wednesday by a federal mediator. CBS News reported that “negotiations are ongoing at an undisclosed location.”

Educators in the state’s largest district are staging their first strike in nearly 50 years. They are calling for adequate learning conditions for children, including air conditioning and heating in all buildings, smaller class sizes, limits on the number of lessons per day and wages that keep pace with inflation. Teachers are talking about and posting pictures of school rat and cockroach infestations, black mold and outdated and dirty ventilation systems.

Employees across the city, well aware of the problems at the school, turned out to vote, bringing their children in a show of support and donating to educators. The determination to fight is evident throughout the city of Columbus.

The striking teacher told the WSWS: “Teachers are proud and they are standing firm. I don’t hear about any upheaval. Every move made by the district to discourage us has its consequences. Every step inspires movement, and we stay true to our purpose.

“We had a ton of students that came and participated because it was supposed to be their first day of school. We get a lot of support, food and drinks, flowers, compliments, horns, therapy animals.

In a provocative move, district officials attempted to end teacher health care. Without issuing a legal notice, this attack was stopped for a while. Instead, they blocked teachers’ variable spending accounts, funds that teachers themselves contribute.

CEA’s parent organization, the National Education Association (NEA), does not pay strike pay to educators, despite having more than $400 million in assets. Neither the NEA nor the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has done anything to mobilize the millions of educators who are facing the same struggle and are ready to join in a common struggle. . In contrast, unions are calling off strikes, including that of the 35,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), affiliated with the NEA and AFT, nearly two months after their collective agreement expired.

Martha, Nicole and Traci