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Milwaukee substitute teachers in a hunger strike

Interview by People’s Tribune/Tribuno del Pueblo  |  Issue: June | July 2018

Editor’s note: Alex Brower, Substitute Teacher President, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) is interviewed below by the People’s Tribune/Tribuno del Pueblo on Day 12 of hunger strike.  He began his hunger strike on May 3.

People’s Tribune / Tribuno del Pueblo: Alex, tell our readers why you are on a hunger strike.

Alex Brower: Right now substitute teachers are the only groups that don’t receive healthcare from the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) but who work full time. So what this hunger strike is doing is bringing attention to the fact that we have hundreds of fulltime teachers who are not insured and who need to be.

This fight really started with our effort to stop privatization. The District tried to privatize the substitute teacher pool to a temp agency called Goodwill TalentBridge. We defeated the privatization attempt; all those temps were hired by the District. One reason they turned to the temp agency is that there is a shortage of substitute teachers in MPS. So the substitute teachers are trying to improve the quality of education so we can bring teachers back.

When the school district budget came out April 27 and there was no healthcare for subs, we decided to ratchet up our tactics. With the support of my union brothers and sisters, I decided to go on a hunger strike on May 3. I’m continuing this hunger strike until this budget is amended to include healthcare for every sub who works fulltime in this District. The next official date for review of the budget is May 24. I want to see an actual vote on the school board that will alter the budget that’s being proposed.

Please visit www.peoplestribune.org for the full text of this interview.

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