50,000 Arizona educators strike, march on capitol
Phoenix, AZ – A red tidal wave is washing over downtown Phoenix, April 26, as the #RedForEd movement takes its demands to Governor Ducey and the Republican-dominated legislature. A week ago, 78% of the 57,000 educators who voted chose to walk out as a response to the lack of a realistic proposal from Ducey. His proposal, what he called last night his “final offer” uses a lot of unverified projections and moving monies from important programs such as health care and funds for the disabled and veterans.
Dubbed “DoubleTalk Ducey,” educators do not trust him, as he says there’s an economic boom in the state and that there’s money to meet the teachers’ demand of a 20% raise. These are contradictory statements because Arizona lawmakers have approved huge corporate tax cuts for years. For example, from 2016 to 2017, state revenue increased yet corporate income tax dropped $200 million. Moreover, the tax exemption loopholes in the state allow for an annual $14 billion in corporate profit. That amount is roughly the size of state revenue.
It is clear that education workers in Arizona are fed up with the extremely low pay and the criminal denial of funds to public schools. Behind all of this are the enemies of the labor movement, unions and public institutions: the Koch brothers, ALEC, and the DeVos agenda to crush public sector unions, slash corporate taxes and privatize education.
A decision will be made very soon as to whether or not the walk out will continue in the face of Republican betrayal of Arizona students and educators.