‘You’re Losing More Than You’re Gaining’

California teacher Raymond Pulliam helped organize a public school strike. He now sees it was a “winless fight.” Credit: Photo originally published by KQED radio (San Francisco), courtesy of Raymond Pulliam.

Former Union Militant Admits Recent Strike Has Hurt Teachers

As the 2018-2019 school year drew to a close late this spring, rank-and-file teachers in Oakland, Calif., who had heeded Big Labor’s strike siren song this winter finally learned how much their unauthorized absences from the classroom would cost them.

A number of teachers were reportedly shocked to learn their losses were greater than the gains they thought they had reaped.

According to a June 12 news account by journalist Lily Jamali for KQED, a San Francisco-based public radio station, one of the flabbergasted teachers was Raymond Pulliam.

Teachers ‘May Not Have Been Prepared for the Type of Losses That They Received’

Mr. Pulliam, at the time the teacher of a third- and fourth-grade combination class at Parker Elementary School in Oakland, had been a “strike captain who encouraged fellow teachers to go on strike in February,” reported Ms. Jamali.

He expected he and his colleagues would benefit financially from the walkout.

But now he estimates, he and others lost “about a third” of their earnings “for one pay cycle,” that is, “a few thousand dollars.”

As Mr. Pulliam admitted to Ms. Jamali, he had begun to have “misgivings” about his actions as a strike organizer:

“I felt as if I was taking my soldiers into a winless fight. . . . Yes, we all took a financial hit. I feel so sorry about those who also took that hit, but may or may not have been prepared for the type of losses that they received.”

His bitter experience as a strike captain and the “disappointing” deal union bosses ultimately struck with the school district both “played into” the recent decision he and his family made to pull up stakes:

“All of the things that I experienced during the strike are a microcosm of what’s happening across [forced-unionism] California. . . . You’re losing more than you’re gaining. We decided that we need to get out of this web and move to where things make more sense.”

California Teacher Raymond Pulliam

Top Teacher Union Bosses Praise K-12 School Strikes, Including Illegal Ones

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“The vast majority of Americans recognize that schoolchildren, parents and taxpayers are hurt when government union bosses call teachers out on strike, regardless of whether the strike is formally barred by state law, as it often is, or legally permitted, as is the case in Big Labor-ruled California.

“Unfortunately, top teacher union bosses have, despite the havoc wrought by the recent wave of K-12 school strikes in California and a number of other states, repeatedly praised such job actions, even as Big Labor routinely denies responsibility for those that are illegal.

“For example, at the conclusion of a flagrantly political strike that shut down the Los Angeles Unified School District for seven days this January, National Education Association [NEA] union President Lily Eskelsen Garcia gushed:

“‘What we are witnessing is not a moment but a movement . . . by educators who are fighting for the public schools our students deserve.’

“The fact is, union bosses openly order or quietly instigate strikes to advance their institutional interests.

“As the late national teacher union boss Al Shanker once acknowledged, it’s a ‘fact of life’ that there is no ‘voice for students’ in Big Labor collectivism.  That’s true of school strikes, especially.

“And, as Raymond Pulliam and many of his colleagues recently learned, rank-and-file teachers don’t come out on top in strikes, either.”

NEA President Eskelsen Garcia

State Bans on Union Monopoly Bargaining Protect Public Educators

Mr. Mix noted it is significant that the state to which Mr. Pulliam and his family opted to move, Right to Work Virginia, is one of just seven where union monopoly bargaining over public educators’ pay and other terms and conditions of employment is barred by statute or by case law:

“As Raymond Pulliam succinctly put it, ‘things make more sense’ in states like Virginia, where teachers cannot be forced to bankroll a union or cede control over their pay, benefits, and work rules to union officials.

“Right to Work members agree, and that’s why they continue to fight to expand such protections for teachers and other employees to additional states.”