Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan is asking Philadelphia teachers to authorize him to unilaterally call a strike if and when he feels like it’s necessary.

Teacher strikes are legal in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t mean teachers want to walk a picket line or skip paychecks.

Interestingly, members of teachers unions have far fewer legal rights than nonmembers when it comes to returning to the classroom in the event of a legal strike. Just ask teachers in Chicago. Only union members can be threatened with “union discipline”–including fines, publicly humiliating “censuring,” or expulsion from the union–when they refuse to picket or want to return to work. Teachers who don’t wish to follow Jerry Jordan’s lead are safer resigning their union membership than risking union discipline.

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