There is a giddy sense of optimism in the public sector unions of the United States of Trumplandia and union bosses are walking hard-heeled through the halls of state Capitols spoiling for a fight.
West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico the workers walked, are protesting, and talking walk. So far those who have walked are a respectable 1.5-0.5 because no one is quite sure Oklahoma is a clear cut victory or a draw.
Are we seeing a labor resurgence similar to the heady days of the Flint sit-down strike of the 1930s or an anomalous phenomenon? Spring is in the air and public employee unions are feeling the sap rise. But the Janus decision is waiting on the wings to trim the new growth from this budding sapling of hope.
And what about Montana where the teachers’ union, MEA-MFT just merged…with…some one and is now the largest union in the history of Montana. Recently elected President Eric Feaver of the Montana Federation of Public Employees is quoted, “We are exponentially beyond being a teacher union.” It begs the question what does the long-lasting, long serving, everlasting indefatigable, incomparable Mr. Feaver plan to do with the exponential power at hand?
The University system is a mess, state employees haven’t seen a decent raise since 2013, and the Montana Department of Corrections just closed the Great Falls Youth Transition Center as part of their $40 million budget cuts courtesy of a special session steered by the Republican caucus. The end result of Governor Bullock and budget director Dan Villa getting an atomic wedgie from Senator Lew Jones, Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen, and loyal minion Representative Rob Cook.
It begs the question is there enough anger and stamina within the ranks of state employees to pull off a strike? Does Eric Feaver have the savvy to pull the trigger on a statewide strike during the upcoming session? Remeber, the 1991 strike was engineered by the late Jim McGarvey of the Montana Federation of Teachers/Montana Federation of State Employees and Tom Schneider, former executive director of the Montana Public Employees Association. Feaver watched from the sidelines. There hasn’t been a repeat of that action in almost thirty years.
So do you wield the collective power of the most powerful union in the history of Montana or use the possibility of a strike as a bargaining chip? Time will tell but time is waning for the aging labor boss to pull something epic and will it occur because union members want it or because Feaver is feeling his oats and the sap is on the rise?
Just remember summer follows spring and shit burns in Montana and winter is coming. Just ask the Syrian rebels how that Arab Spring is working for them.
“Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack”. – T-Bone Slim