Teacher Strikes Work. Now Colorado Wants to Ban Them

The successful teachers strike in West Virginia has lit a fire under teachers in other states. But what if instead of negotiating to compensate teachers fairly, states just forbid them from striking and fired/jailed the teachers that tried to strike anyway?

That may sound like a joke, but it’s real legislation being proposed by Republicans in Colorado. SB18-264  would enable school districts to get a court injunction compelling teachers to show up to work. Teachers who did not comply would be in contempt of court and automatically get fired — without a hearing, even — and also face up to six months in jail.

What a great way to thank the state’s educators for their service! If you think this is a despicable move, sign this petition urging legislators to work with the teachers union rather than against it.

Teachers in Colorado have good reason to strike. They’re one of the lowest ranking states when it comes to pay. Their future benefits aren’t guaranteed either, considering that their pension program is currently $32 billion in debt. Add to that that Colorado is stiffing schools about $830 million per year, and it’s clear that legislators need to take another look at their education budget.

Or, you know, they could just ignore the problems and fire/jail teachers for wanting a decent wage and adequate funding for their students. The bill’s sponsors, state Senator Bob Gardner and state Rep. Paul Lundeen, better hope the teachers don’t call their bluff. Who’s going to teach the children when all the teachers are in jail cells?

As it stands, teachers in Colorado are planning a walk out this Friday, with some school districts preemptively planning to cancel school so students don’t show up. Conservative legislators would have to act fast to get this bill passed before that day, but if the teachers were to persist, that might push more legislators to support this extreme bill as an easier solution than reallocating money.

If the bill were to pass, it would most likely head to court for infringing on the teachers union’s right to organize and strike. That said, there’s a good chance a judge would determine that this law was constitutional anyway since some unions are already forbidden from striking.

For example, police unions aren’t allowed to strike because of the threat their absence would pose to public safety. Since a teacher strike would mean the state’s children missing out on an education for the extent of the strike, it’s not hard to see how someone could decide that the consequence is to steep to allow it.

Hopefully it won’t come to that. The Democratic candidate for governor, Michael Johnston, is not in support of this bill, correctly labeling it what it is: “a tactic designed to distract from the challenges facing Colorado’s educating system rather than solving them.” He pledged that, if elected governor, he would work with teachers rather than threaten them.

Take Action!

The bottom line is that if teachers’ jobs are too important to allow them to strike, then surely they’re worthwhile enough to compensate them fairly. Sign this Care2 petition to tell the Colorado legislature to work with the teachers rather than outlawing their ability to organize.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: TMT-photos/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Julie D
Julie D7 months ago

Isn't it unconstitutional to prevent them from exercising their right to free speech and peaceful protest? The GOP has always tried to vilify unions, so they can treat employees badly, pay them poorly and get away with it. People fought and died for the right to form unions. Every working person today whether they ever belonged to a union or not are reaping the benefits of things the unions fought for that have since become the law of the land. I have always been and will always be pro union.

Leanne K
Leanne K7 months ago

ALL the more reason to strike. I think the americans are finally getting it, poms and aussies have been trying to tell you something for a long time.
Join the union!

Leanne K
Leanne K7 months ago

Again how can a soceity that prides itself on being democratic as in democracy.ever.consider such a move. Thats crazy thinking

Winn Adams
Winn A7 months ago

I belong to a union and I support ANY teachers union who decides to strike.

Peggy B
Peggy B7 months ago


Anne M
Anne Moran7 months ago

Not the outcome teachers were hoping for...

Amanda M
Amanda M7 months ago

Another reason to despise the Rethuglican Religious Reich-it's bad enough that they're continuously gutting education funding for public schools, underpaying teachers while requiring them to work MORE, and slashing funding for programs that help the working class or poor, or anything else that their God would approve of (help the less fortunate, right?), but now they want to jail teachers for exercising their First Amendment right to protest and speak out against this BS! We need to vote these cretins OUT of office now before they succeed in turning our country into a theocracy that is the worst combination of "The Handmaid's Tale" and "1984" combined!

Alea C
Alea C7 months ago

Republicans are incapable of governing so they become control freaks instead. How lucky are we to live under their collective thumbs?

Cathy B
Cathy B7 months ago

More power to teachers !!