Teacher unions have not often been leaders of broader social justice movements. That’s changing due to a new generation of union activists who see their struggle as part of the struggle for the communities in which they teach.
The American Prospect
What also makes the West Virginia Teachers strike similar to other effective acts of solidarity against entrenched right-wing power is that it was borne in the democratic cauldron of public schools.
"Women's Work? Voices of Vermont Educators" details the reality of work for teachers and paraeducators in Vermont. These workers are putting in long hours to meet growing student needs, as the opioid epidemic is on the rise, and child poverty grows. They are spending their own money to buy food and clothes for students. They are supporting their families as the primary breadwinner, and paying off high levels of loan debt. And they feel disrespected because they work in a female-dominated profession.
In These Times
Like Bargaining for the Common Good, TURN members also believe teachers need to approach bargaining more creatively and boldly. Specifically, TURN wants to see unions negotiate over policies that “advance student learning,” such as reducing the number of standardized tests students must take while also pushing for new kinds of assessments that measure skills like creativity.
During Iran’s post-revolution reform era (1997-2005), a new wave of trade unionism began in the country. However, this spring of unionism quickly turned to winter, and most union leaders were arrested when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. Nowadays, any attempts by workers to organise strikes are met with severe repercussions by security agents. Nonetheless union resistance is growing.
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The New People
As labor battles are traditionally viewed, making concessions on salary and benefits would have to be considered a defeat. But the faculty union regards the result of the strike as a clear-cut victory, a victory that preserved what many regard as one of the best university faculty contracts in the country.