Following the example of school workers in West Virginia, over a 1,000 teachers, retirees, other public workers and their supporters crowded the state Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, March 12, protesting a bill brought before the state Senate that would slash retired teachers pensions and their cost of living adjustments. The rally was called, “The People’s Movement — United We Stand.”
The proposed pension cuts hit teachers particularly hard, as they’re not covered by Social Security.
“We’ve got to fill up this building everyday,” Josh Trosper, assistant principal at Knox Central High School, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “We’ve got to be loud, we’ve got to fight back.”
Because of low pay and bad conditions, Kentucky schools have already lost hundreds of teachers. Lisa Poor, a school librarian and member of the Campbell County Education Association, said she has to work at a number of schools because district administrators say they can’t afford to staff each one.
The Senate was scheduled to vote on the bill three days earlier, but in the face of protesting teachers and others packing the Capitol, legislators decided to send it back to the committee. Senate and House leaders said they didn’t know when it would be taken up again, clearly hoping the protests will go away.
Among the rally sponsors were Kentucky Education Association, the state AFL-CIO, Teamsters, Service Employees International Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.