We, the undersigned, support the decision of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR), EDUCAMOS and allied teachers’ organizations in the Broad Front in Defense of Public Education (FADEP) to call a national teachers’ work stoppage in Puerto Rico for March 19.  The strike is in response to the Puerto Rican House of Representatives passing an education reform bill this week that would introduce charter schools and private school vouchers and that would close hundreds of public schools. This bill, now before the Senate, is just one of the effects of colonial austerity directed by banks and vulture capitalists from the United States and Spain.

Long before the tragic destruction by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, these forces began ripping apart the public school system on the island. The PROMESA law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2016 established a board or Junta of outsiders to direct Puerto Rico’s affairs in such a way that debt service happens even as public service suffers.

From afar, in our respective communities and unions, we will promote the cause and demands that the FADEP see fit to put forward.

We are not surprised that at this time, teachers in West Virginia, Jersey City NJ, Arizona, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and throughout the Americas are either striking or planning strikes in a collective effort to stop privatization, school closings, and cuts to the living standards of dedicated educators. We know that union teachers have more genuine concern about the rights of children and youth–particularly those impacted by poverty, racism, and disabilities–than do the ‘one percent’ who will accuse these workers of causing problems for students with the strike.  Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

We look forward to increased active solidarity between organized labor and the rest of the community in the fight for free public education accessible to all youngsters, worldwide.

Initial signers:

Parents to Improve School Transportation, New York City

Sara Catalinotto, member, United Federation of Teachers Local 2, Movement of Rank-and-File Educators Caucus*

Johnnie Stevens, member UFT Local 2, Child Care Providers’ Division*

Milagros Cancel, Comite Timon, Capitulo Nueva York

Labor Against Racist Terror

United School Bus Union Workers, USW Local 8751

Community-Labor United for Postal Jobs & Services

Joe Piette. member, National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 157*, Philadelphia

Pam Africa, Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Philadelphia/Camden Boricua Committee

Gloria Rubac, Steward, American Federation of Teachers, Local 2415, Retired

Aurelia Gómez Unamuno (Professor at Haverford College)

Fermín Morales, IBEW Local 98* (Electricians Union)

Cheryl LaBash, City of Detroit AFSCME retiree

Brad Sigal, Secretary, AFSCME Local 3800

David Sole, past president UAW Local 2334, Detroit Michigan

Shesheena Bray, The Campaign to Bring Mumia Home

Julie Strahan, DCUE, District 196 MN

Judy Bjorke, Retired School Social Worker, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Local 59

Caroline Hooper, Teacher, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59

Margaret Witham Faculty, Bunker Hill Community College, MTA union member, Boston

David Gilbert-Pederson, member Teamster 120

Aisha Chughtai, Member Campaign Workers Guild

Dan Engelhart, Opeiu local 12 chief steward and MAPE senior business agent

Bruny Muñoz, Self-employed artist

Jill Jacobson, Member, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers local 59, IWW local 14

Pia PayneShannon, Member, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59

Melinda McGowan, Member, AFSCME Local 3141

Manuel E. Meléndez Lavandero Colectivos de la Resistencia Boricua

Comité Boricua Filadelfia-Camden

Eva Nelson, MFT 59

Megan Troyer Me, nationally certified school psychologist, MFT59

Julie Strahan, DCUE, District 196 MN

Judy Bjorke, Retired School Social Worker, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Local 59

Black & Brown Workers Cooperative

Brionna Harder, Member, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Local 59

Food Not Bombs Solidarity, Phila, PA

Wisconsin Bail Out The People Movement

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