Tonight there will be two strike votes taking place. One of the votes will feature a teachers union while the other features a Long Island union.
This evening at 7:00 pm Pacific time teachers in Portland, Oregon will be voting on whether or not to authorize a strike. The Portland Association of Teachers, an NEA local, is made up of nearly 3,000 teachers plus more than 1,000 substitute teachers. Today, in solidarity with their teachers, students held walkouts around the city of Portland. As the story unfolds we will have more here at thepjsta.org. You can follow @PATSolidarity on Twitter to keep track of the story in real time. The PJSTA is proud to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Portland!
The other strike vote taking place tonight is that of the LIRR’s largest union. Via Newsday...
The Sheet Metal, Air and Transportation Union/United Transportation Union, which represents nearly half of LIRR laborers, will cast their ballots at back-to-back meetings in Massapequa Wednesday night. SMART UTU general chairman Anthony Simon, who expects a unanimous “yes” vote from members, said he will also be handing out picket signs and coordinating strike captains.
Smaller LIRR unions have already approved similar votes to walk off the job as early as March 21. Simon said his union’s vote — the first of its kind in two decades — is “the toughest for our members ever to make.”
“This is going to affect their finances, their families, and the Long Island economy,” Simon said. “But they are standing united with their union, because they have been pushed around far too long.”
In November, President Barack Obama appointed a Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve the dispute. After listening to arguments from labor and management during a weeklong Manhattan hearing, the board largely ruled in the unions’ favor, saying that the MTA could afford to give workers raises without having to raise fares. The unions accepted the board’s nonbinding recommendations, but the MTA rejected them.
The PJSTA proudly stands in solidarity with all of their brothers and sisters in the labor movement. We will have more on these situations as they unfold.