Indiana teachers could strike despite laws, labor experts say

As teacher strikes have spread across the country, several factors would determine if Indiana would follow, experts and union leaders say.

Although state labor laws are written to deter strikes, the state is facing pressing issues in education including teacher shortages, dropping pay and a shift toward using property tax referendums to shore up local budgets. Teacher unions are watching strikes in other states, but have no definite plans and will watch how lawmakers address funding during the 2019 legislative session, they said.

Expert: Despite labor laws, teachers could strike

Although teachers cannot strike under Indiana labor laws, there would be little the state could do to stop a large-scale one, such as in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky, said Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, a labor law expert at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Practically speaking, lawmakers and schools understood it would be too hard to fire and replace so many educators on short notice, he said.

“There’s a movement. It’s sort of like a ‘Me Too’ movement,” he said, “sort of like the students that are protesting violence in schools.

“I don’t know what it is … there’s something going on in America that is lending itself to some serious protests,” he said. “It wouldn’t be a matter of protesting and walking away. It will be a matter of protesting and seeing results.”

The Associated Press contributed.

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