It’s an incredibly difficult time to be a public school teacher. Collective action can help teachers realize that their problems are caused by systemic issues, not individual failings, and that the solutions require acting together.
Barbara Madeloni is the education coordinator at Labor Notes and a former president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
Seattle teachers are back in the classroom this week after walking off the job on September 7. The union won some gains — but some members aren’t happy about how the strike ended.
Unions fight for more pay for workers. But workers also need to have time for themselves and their friends and families. Overtime pay and raises can’t replace what we need more than anything else: our time back.
Teachers and students in Scranton, Pennsylvania, have endured years of devastating cuts to public education. The school board promised to cut off educators’ health insurance if they went on strike — but teachers aren’t backing down.
Throughout the country, teachers are being forced back into schools before it’s fully safe. And while many teachers’ unions are waging valiant fights against unsafe reopenings, too many of them are losing.
The energy that Karen Lewis brought to the labor movement through her Chicago Teachers Union presidency still vibrates through unions across the country. If you look closely at the fire in educators standing with students and community members in recent years, you can see Lewis’s unwavering determination in the flames.
Electing progressive leadership is nowhere near enough to transform the labor movement — drifting away from union democracy and militancy is too easy. Good left labor leadership must be rooted in the rank and file.
The start of the school year saw this year’s teachers strikes spread to Washington. Teachers across the state defied court injunctions and won large raises — and set the stage for a potential strike in Los Angeles.
Barbara Madeloni’s presidency of the Massachusetts Teachers Association is ending. But as she explains in an interview with Jacobin, the national rank-and-file teacher insurgency isn’t going anywhere.
In choosing Barbara Madeloni as president, the Massachusetts Teachers Association has elected a fierce opponent of neoliberal education reform.