MCPS Teachers Consider Going on Strike

Will Swann and Aida Humphries

Rumors about a teacher strike have been circulating B-CC and Montgomery County. MCPS’ denial of a “step increase,” a periodic increase in teachers’ pay rate, puts teachers a year behind their formally agreed-upon pay.

In response, the teachers union (MCEA) has voiced concerns about the proposed salary structure. However, this has not been well received. “[The MCPS Bargaining Committee led by Steve Blievess] acts uninterested and like the issue is not important. We come to the meetings prepared, and the county doesn’t. They act like we don’t exist,” said a B-CC art teacher who wished to remain anonymous while describing the nature of MCPS council meetings.

County residents have also taken to social media, specifically the MCPS Reddit thread, where residents voice their concerns and encourage others to “show up to the MCEA bargaining over the next few weeks and scream like hell.” User u/CCND02 continues, “If MCPS decides to make teachers bargain for salary increases for every contract instead of honoring the step system, teachers are going to run like hell to get out of this state.”

However, despite their discontent, going on strike is not legally possible. “We’re not able to strike for a variety of reasons. For one, there’s 14,000 teachers MCEA represents, and coordinating every single one to not come into work one day just isn’t possible, and two, legally, they can dismantle the union if we go on strike…and revoke our teaching license,” commented another B-CC teacher.

Many teachers have stated they are leaving the profession or retiring after this year, including “several [teachers] at B-CC” says an arts department teacher.

Ms. Laine, a computer science teacher at B-CC, shared, “It’s just unfair. With the cost of living and the amount that teachers do, it is not fair. As well as the fact that other professions are paid much more for the same, if not less, amount of work.”