While we remember the history of the labor movement this weekend and the sacrifices of generations of union members who went before us, this Labor Day weekend we also stand with our colleagues in Arizona and around the country whose plight shows so clearly why unions are still so vital today.
In places like Arizona, where unions have been weakened, teachers’ voices have been silenced, salaries and benefits have plummeted, working conditions have eroded, class sizes are higher, and outcomes for students are often lower. Many students in Arizona are not receiving the high-quality education they deserve because Arizona’s public schools are severely underfunded.
After more than 20,000 teaches went on strike last spring to protest the state of education in Arizona, educators have continued seeking out ways to increase funding for schools in their state. Over the summer, teachers worked tirelessly through the heat to collect 270,000 signatures to qualify the Invest In ED act for the November ballot. If enacted, it would have raised nearly $700 million for public schools.
Wednesday, the Arizona State Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of removing the Invest In ED ballot measure from the November ballot. The Arizona Education Association (AEA) says that the state Supreme Court is stacked with anti-public education justices appointed by Governor Doug Ducey, who has failed to take action to increase needed education funding in Arizona for years.
AEA is requesting that teachers across the country join them this Tuesday in observing a national #RedForEd day. This day of solidarity is in reaction to the unprecedented decision by the Arizona supreme court robbing Arizonans of the opportunity to vote for critical funding for their classrooms and investing in educators. NEA and AEA are asking everyone to wear red and post pictures to social media with a simple “We stand in solidarity with Arizona educators” and #RedForEd and #InvestInEd hashtags.
Please join us in standing in solidarity with educators in Arizona and everywhere—because students and educators deserve better.