Ohio School Hiring Ex-Military for “Strike Security” – 6,000 Seattle Teachers Move to Strike – Univ of Minnesota Strike Could be Next

Teachers in Niles, Ohio prepare to strike next week (WKBN)


Greetings from the Burgh, where we’re shipping out tomorrow to cover the teachers’ strike in Niles, Ohio.  

Niles School District Hiring Ex-Military for Strike Security 

After a unanimous vote, nearly 150 teachers in Niles, Ohio, will be out on strike tomorrow.

Already, the school district has hired Huffmaster Strike Services to hire scab replacement teachers at a rate of $225 a day. Now, a job posting obtained by Payday Report shows Huffmaster Strike services is seeking ex-military and law enforcement with “security experience in crowd control or crisis/security experience” for the strike brewing at the Niles School District. 

“What the hell is going on here in Niles Ohio?,” wrote local parent Keith Charles on Facebook next to the posting. “Why won’t [the superintendent] and her negotiating team just work out a fair and equitable deal instead of wasting our money? She needs ran out of town, now!!”

Help Pay for Food & Gas on the Road

Good news! Thanks to a generous reader from Niles, Ohio, we have covered our hotel costs and will be staying at a Days Inn in Niles. Now, we just need to cover the cost of gas, food, and our salary for our work covering the strike. 

Donate today to help us cover our travel costs to cover this crucial strike. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 712 recurring donors today. 

6,000 Seattle Teachers Move Toward Strike 

Last week, teachers struck at 42 schools in the suburban Seattle school district of Kent. Now, the 6,000 members of the Seattle Education Association are voting to authorize a strike this weekend. 

The teachers’ contract will expire this Friday, nearly a week before the first day of school on September 7, the day teachers would plan to strike. 

“I think the SEA board of directors saw that the choice is to either accept what the district has been offering, which is basically lack of student support, lack of workload release, and lack of respectful wages, or stand united for what we know students and educators need,” Jennifer Matter, union president, told The Seattle Times. 

For more, check out Seattle Times. 

University of Minnesota Workers Experiencing Homelessness Move to Strike 

As college students return to the classroom this week, many educators and school support staff are heading to the picket line. 

Over 1,500 cleaning and maintenance staff at the University of Minnesota, many of them immigrants from Somalia and Eritrea, are preparing to strike at the University this month. 

According to a survey commissioned by Teamsters Local 320, out of 450 workers at the University, 62% of workers reported: “…not earning enough money to pay for basic expenses every month.” Another 12% reported experiencing homelessness at least once when working at the University. 

“It’s shameful that the University of Minnesota has a billion dollars left over at the end of the year, coming off the backs of workers who are homeless and don’t have enough money for food,” said Brian Aldes, Local 320 Secretary-Treasurer. “The State of Minnesota, UMN President Joan Gabel, and the Board of Regents need to understand that if our brothers and sisters at the university are forced to strike, the Teamsters are ready to take up this fight, no matter the cost.”

For more on working conditions at the University, check out the Teamsters website. 

Survey:  96% of Railroad Workers Prepared To Strike 

A new survey of 3,162 railroad workers released by Railroad Workers United has revealed 96% of railroad workers are prepared to strike. 

The survey comes as 10 unions, representing nearly 100,000 members, are engaged in negotiations to avert a potential rail strike. 

Railroad Workers United, a rank-and-file organization of railroad workers composed of a variety of unions, say the results contradict the opinions of the three unions that have already settled contracts at the railroad.  The three unions — the International Association of Machinists, the Transportation Communications Union, and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen union — reached a tentative agreement that would give 24% wage increases over a 5-year period. 

However, the unions angered many rank-and-file union members and leaders when they accepted the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board nearly 3 weeks before the deadline on those negotiations was set to expire. 

While the PEB offers a 21% wage increase over 5 years, the contract cuts health insurance. Most importantly, the PEB does not address workplace issues such as shifts that can sometimes last up to 14 to 16 hours, as well as the industry push to have only one-person crews manning large freight trains. 

“Not only is the PEB’s failure to address work rules and conditions a slap on the face to working railroaders, but that failure also betrays shippers, passengers, and the nation as a whole who have been hoping to see an end to the ongoing rail service crisis,” said Railroad Workers United in a statement. “By not addressing these issues and this discontent among the workforce, the PEB has acted irresponsibly, their recommendations doing little to nothing to stem the tide of discontent nor address the ongoing mass exodus of workers from the industry.”

For more on the qualms with the PEB, check out the Railroad Workers United full analysis here.

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere 

Alright folks, that’s all for today. Donate to help us travel to Niles, Ohio this week to cover this crucial teachers strike. And, if you can, sign up as one of our 712 recurring donors today. 

Keep sending story ideas, tips, and suggestions to [email protected].

Thanks again for all the support and suggestions. 

Love & Solidarity, 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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