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A Call to Teachers' Unions: Restore Teachers' Right to Strike ~ don't just tell teachers

You can only be empowered if you are granted power – or take it by force, as so did our Founding Fathers.

Not one - but many - public school teachers asking:

“Shouldn’t we have a constitutionally protected right to strike?”

“Why aren’t we allowed to strike, especially when the government, including the school board,

ignores our respectful demands?”

The answer to these questions is simple. The government has taken away the public employees' right to strike because they want them to be powerless when government officials' act in the name of greed and use the public's coffers to serve themselves.

We are at a crossroads: How do we reclaim and restore rights?

Labor Law: Overview

On the bright side, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) provides federal government employees the right to strike to. Traditionally, the NLRB's rulings and precedents have been used as the legal framework by the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission (“F-PERC”) and Florida Legislature to develop the state's labor laws; it is state, not federal law, which dictates state and local public employees’ labor relations vis-à-vis its employer, the state or local government.

Fortunately, for the state and local public employees, as a starting point, the NLRB (federal law) provides that employees shall have the right to engage in strikes, more specifically, “economic strikes” and “unfair labor practices strikes.”

This begs the question as follows: if it is customary for the Florida Legislature and F-PERC to follow the NLRB's legal framework when enacting state laws, why did it not opt not to do so with respect to strikes?

I think we all know why. Strikes are powerful. The right to strike is powerful. The government often times does not want We the People to be…yep, powerful.

Changing the “No Strike” Law in Florida: Restoring Our Power

Changing the law requires a simultaneous challenge to both the Florida Statutes and the Florida Constitution because both of these bodies of law prohibit the right to strike.

It may be that if one legal challenge is won, the other will be moot by virtue of the first legal win. But, since it is impossible to predict which of the two challenges could or would be won first, both should be pursued aggressively, simultaneously.

Additionally and in the meantime, we should seek to amend the Florida Constitution.

The point is that We the People should use all of the ammunition we have in the arsenal.

This is a long fight. No doubt. But, it is a fight that is worth waging for one simple reason: the future is in our hands. The future is not just the world we want to live in but also your child's or children's future; in this case, the government you will leave to them to inherit.

Historically, over-reaching governments and its officials have used the governmental powers granted to them by, We the People, against those very same people. If government officials know, as they do, that government employees do not have the power to strike and make noise, public employees' internal demands are easily ignored and drowned in the bureaucratic abyss.

I know what this feels like because I frequently speak out and my concerns are swept under the rug.

The government’s adopted slogan, “If you see something, say something.” is a sound bite merely to give the appearance that they are willing listen. But, they don’t.

We the people should respond, "If we see something and say something, will you do something - anything?

Teachers are frustrated.

Teachers want to speak up against government actions which are being taken against their students – your children – the future of America, as well as themselves.

Unions, in some instances, are proving to be useless since things are progressively getting worse; that is, they have not been able to address issues properly. This is why the right to strike needs to be extended to all public employees.

When the unions fail us, we must have the right to save ourselves!

Moreover, because public employees serve We the People, we should want them to have the right to strike when our government is failing all of us, and who better than the government employees who know the inside scoop because they work "in" government.

This leads me to the next point.

Reasons to Support the Right to Strike

Whereas it is true that a strike may temporarily shut down an area of government, that is a minor inconvenience when compared to how the government could use the long-term prohibition to strike against all of us, not just government employees, in any one area of government not to mention all areas.

It is not in the interest of the public, We the People, to prevent public employees from striking because the right to strike keeps government officials in check. In other words, if public employees attempt to address issues through the proper channels, as many do, only to be ignored, then public employees can shut down the tyrannical government through the right to strike. On the other hand, when public employees cannot strike, the amount of effort that it takes for them to make their statement know to the public is so great that many are defeated by the very process!

I know. I have tried on many fronts.

Think about it. Our Founding Fathers made the right to strike a part of the First Amendment. It is not the "First" by accident. The Founding Fathers knew that without freedom of speech, which includes the right of assembly, nothing would follow.

The right to strike is, indeed, one of the cornerstones to a free people.

Middle Class

What has made America great? The middle class.

Government employees are part of the middle class. Why are their rights being diminished, especially if they are part of the backbone of America?

A middle class is what is missing in every single country, such as a developing or third world country, where its people do not have Economic Freedom to enjoy being free.

Without a middle class, there are only the rich and the poor. We have seen the gap between both classes growing in the past few decades, such that there are claims that the American middle class is becoming a thing of the past.

Why is the government enacting laws and amending state constitutions to prohibit government employees from striking? What is it the government fearful about? After all, if it treats government employees correctly, employees would not be motivated to strike. Moreover, if the government is doing right by We the People, the public employees will also not be motivated.

Think about it. The only reason why public employees would strike is if the government ignores them. Maybe this is what the government is trying to protect – their ability to ignore the primary stakeholders of America – the employees who serve her.

Your eyebrow should be raised so high right now that it is making a dent on the ceiling.

Where are the unions?

Why are the unions not challenging the constitutionality of the Florida Statutes and the Florida Constitution?

Deafening silence.

Union members should be called to action. Demand that your union dues are used to fight this legal fight so that once and for all you are empowered. This would also empower well-meaning unions who feel their hands are tied because they cannot call for a strike.

Students Can Strike; Teachers Cannot Strike

Due to all of the horrific shootings in schools, school officials are looking the other way or even encouraging students to protest during school hours.

This has led to a double standard where students are able to protest during school hours but educators are not.

This issue is not about the "pro" or "anti" gun control movements. This issue highlighted in this articles relates to the right to strike. Period.

This issue is not about whether students should be allowed to strike. This issue underscored in this article is the right to strike. Period.

Let’s stay focused. If you want to discuss the two issues (gun control and/or whether students' rights to protest during school hours are justified) that is another article that you can write, if you wish.

Again, this article merely raises the issue that a double standard – one that works against educators and all public employees for that matter, has been created.

This is wrong.

The double standard is that while students are allowed to protest in favor for gun control, teachers are not allowed to protest in favor for education.

Without guns, the government can control us physically.

Without education, the government can control us intellectually.

It seems that what the government is allowing and prohibiting, when combined, will give them 100% control of We the People – both our bodies and minds.

Interesting. Interestingly dangerous.

This is about asking the questions:

Why are students allowed to do something that their own teachers are expressly prohibited from doing?

Shouldn't we all be allowed to protest at the same time?

Why are students' rights greater than teachers' rights?

This does not make sense.

One of the arguments used to prohibit teachers from striking is that it disrupts the learning environment and robs instructional time from students. But, let’s be honest, when students are allowed to strike, it ends up creating the same effect. So, that cannot be the reason why teachers are not allowed to strike!

Shouldn't all issues be given equal importance, at least insofar, as the right to express them?

They should.

But, they are not.

Our own government is being selective as to what is heard and who is able to speak – under the same circumstances. That is discriminatory.

We Should Use Bad Government Policy Against the Government

This might be an opportune moment, if we do not squander it.

We the People might just be able to make this discrimination against teachers work in favor of all the public employees, including public school teachers, who serve us in so many ways every day.

Now that the government has acquiesced to the disruption of the school day by permissibly allowing students' strikes, teachers are actually in a good place because they can use it to discredit the government when they tell us that teachers cannot strike since it disrupts the learning environment so-on-and-so-forth. Blah, blah, blah. As if they really, in earnest, cared about anything education! The educational policy they create clearly tells us that they could care less.

And besides, now that I think about it, how many times do those very same government officials shut down the government when they reach a standstill? Case in point. Quite often in recent history.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander – or at least, it should be.

Reasons not to Strike

In the meantime, public school teachers should not strike, as it could place their employment and pension benefits at risk.

This also includes instigating strikes.

Sharing is Caring

If you agree that teachers and public employees should have the right to strike – please share it.

We need to start building the awareness that we must reclaim and restore our right to strike.

Let's start the conversation!

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