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West Virginia Walkouts a Lesson in the Power of a Crowd-Sourced Strike

It was a crucial turning point, and a telling one. With no collective bargaining rights, no contract, and no legal right to strike, the teachers had managed to mount a statewide work stoppage anyway, and make their demands heard, marshal public support, and stick together until they won. And the rank and file, not union leaders, came to call the shots.

Experts say the West Virginia teachers may foreshadow the future of organized labor, especially in the public sector, at a time when its power has been eroded in much of the country by anti-union legislation and by court challenges like the Janus case, now before the Supreme Court, which threatens the financial viability of collective bargaining.