89.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 30, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTEACHER STRIKE WOULD COME IN OCTOBER

TEACHER STRIKE WOULD COME IN OCTOBER

Members of the American Federation of Teachers are being urged to stock up on supplies and willpower for a strike that will likely occur next month.
Tyrone Molyneaux, president of the St. Croix AFT, said that if the Legislature doesn’t do a better job at finding money to pay teachers and paraprofessionals the money they are owed, union members throughout the territory will strike some time in October.
"What date in October I don’t know," Molyneaux said. "But October would be the month we mobilize."
He noted that the union has not heard from the Turnbull administration, which has said that an agreement offered earlier in the month was the best it could manage.
To prepare for such a strike, Molyneaux urged members to stock up as they would for a natural disaster that could keep them out of work for weeks.
"They should prepare themselves and their families as if they were preparing for a major hurricane," Molyneaux said. "The key thing is to be ready."
Strikers should stock up on the necessities such as food and water. They should also contact their creditors to arrange alternate payment plans in case a strike lasts an inordinately long time.
While Molyneaux said both AFT unions have strike funds, the creation of which is up to the discretion of each union, he couldn’t say what those amounted to. Support from the national union would also be forthcoming if there were a strike, he said.
"We would not give out cash, per se," said Molyneaux, "but maybe vouchers for people to get meals and other necessities."
Meanwhile, Molyneaux is urging teachers to make a showing at Senate Finance Committee hearings this week.
"We’ve heard from the administration. Their position is that the agreement was the best they can do. We haven’t heard from the Legislature to see what is the best they can do," he said. "It’s really up to the Legislature. They’re the ones that have to appropriate money."
The strike vote resulted from the administration's insistence that 50 percent of retroactive pay owed teachers, which amounts to some $60 million, Molyneaux said, be forgiven. Also unacceptable were proposals in the agreement that would strip teachers of increases between 1995 and 2000, which in the end will affect benefits of members who want to retire in the next three years.
The government’s proposal gave $8.6 million in salary increases for the 1994-95 and 2000-01 school years, which translated into a $2,000 to $3,000 increase per teacher.
Between the St. Thomas-St. John AFT and the St. Croix chapter, 545 members voted to strike, 200 voted for arbitration and 52 voted for the status quo.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,757FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Members of the American Federation of Teachers are being urged to stock up on supplies and willpower for a strike that will likely occur next month.
Tyrone Molyneaux, president of the St. Croix AFT, said that if the Legislature doesn’t do a better job at finding money to pay teachers and paraprofessionals the money they are owed, union members throughout the territory will strike some time in October.
"What date in October I don’t know," Molyneaux said. "But October would be the month we mobilize."
He noted that the union has not heard from the Turnbull administration, which has said that an agreement offered earlier in the month was the best it could manage.
To prepare for such a strike, Molyneaux urged members to stock up as they would for a natural disaster that could keep them out of work for weeks.
"They should prepare themselves and their families as if they were preparing for a major hurricane," Molyneaux said. "The key thing is to be ready."
Strikers should stock up on the necessities such as food and water. They should also contact their creditors to arrange alternate payment plans in case a strike lasts an inordinately long time.
While Molyneaux said both AFT unions have strike funds, the creation of which is up to the discretion of each union, he couldn’t say what those amounted to. Support from the national union would also be forthcoming if there were a strike, he said.
"We would not give out cash, per se," said Molyneaux, "but maybe vouchers for people to get meals and other necessities."
Meanwhile, Molyneaux is urging teachers to make a showing at Senate Finance Committee hearings this week.
"We’ve heard from the administration. Their position is that the agreement was the best they can do. We haven’t heard from the Legislature to see what is the best they can do," he said. "It’s really up to the Legislature. They’re the ones that have to appropriate money."
The strike vote resulted from the administration's insistence that 50 percent of retroactive pay owed teachers, which amounts to some $60 million, Molyneaux said, be forgiven. Also unacceptable were proposals in the agreement that would strip teachers of increases between 1995 and 2000, which in the end will affect benefits of members who want to retire in the next three years.
The government’s proposal gave $8.6 million in salary increases for the 1994-95 and 2000-01 school years, which translated into a $2,000 to $3,000 increase per teacher.
Between the St. Thomas-St. John AFT and the St. Croix chapter, 545 members voted to strike, 200 voted for arbitration and 52 voted for the status quo.