Last year, a bill to prohibit teacher strikes was introduced in the state legislature by Todd Rock and 28 co-sponsors, only to be sidelined thanks to union opposition. According to a group called Stop Teacher Strikes, 75% of state legislators between 2004 and 2006 received teacher union money. The office of Governor Ed Rendell, who received more than $500,000 in teachers union political action committee cash for his 2006 re-election bid, called the strike ban a “radical response” to the problem.
That “radical” revision is actually similar to the rule in 37 states that have passed laws banning teacher strikes. Under the text of the strike bill, due to be reintroduced in January, teachers would have to give up two days of pay for each day they are out on strike. Under current law, Pennsylvania teachers see no adverse consequences from a walkout. In New York by contrast, the Taylor law punishes unions that walk off the job with fines and other penalties. According to the Allegheny Institute, similar strike laws have been upheld in the courts and have eliminated walkouts in states like Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Our recent policy brief on the Pennsylvania State Education Association has more on teacher strikes, and the power of the union.
The WSJ article has received a fair number of citations in the blogosphere today: