New Teachers’ Union Movement in the Making

By the editors of Rethinking Schools | Published in Volume 27 No.2 – Winter 2012-2013

The seven-day Chicago teacher strike last September was historic. It showed the importance of teachers using their collective power to demand that all children get the education they deserve. It demonstrated the necessity of an alliance among teachers and parents and community organizations. It exposed the bipartisan corporate “reform” agenda promoted by key sections of the Democratic and Republican parties.

It also signaled that a new teachers’ union movement is in the making.

In short, it was a wake-up call to anyone concerned with the future of public schools. (See our interview with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis)

The Chicago strike was a landmark, but it was not the first sign of a new activism. In the spring of 2011 many leaders and rank-and-file activists from the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) traveled north to support the Wisconsin teacher uprising. Following on the inspiring events of Arab Spring, tens of thousands of Wisconsin teachers, public employees, and supporters surprised the nation with weeks of massive protests in the state capital. The chants of “What’s disgusting? Union busting!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” ultimately echoed off the capitol building in Madison to the streets of Chicago.

In both struggles, teachers and their allies defended public education. They stood against a pro-corporate, pro-privatization agenda. They stood against the scapegoating of teachers and the vilification of their unions. They stood their ground audaciously, refusing to compromise away their rights or their principles.

Read more:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: