Samantha Winslow

L.A. Teachers Showed Us How It's Done

Black woman raising her fist in a crowd of strikers

I spent an exhilarating week in the midst of the Los Angeles teachers strike—the first strike in 30 years by the second-largest teacher union in the country.

Of course wages and benefits were central to the teachers’ fight. But like many successful strikes, theirs was about something bigger—that the district should invest in public education as a public good, rather than stripping schools of their value and selling them off as parts.

Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the Teacher Uprising...

Two people painting signs that say "public schools are the heart of the community"

Who will pay for a 5 percent raise, smaller classes, and more nurses, librarians, and counselors for the Chicago public schools? “Rich people,” Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Gates told the press.

Their contract expires in June. Meanwhile, fresh off the first charter school strike in history, the union set a February 5 strike date at another Chicago charter network.

Member celebrates ratification vote in Hawaii after UNITE HERE Marriott strike

After two months of strikes, workers at the largest hotel company in the world have won their biggest demands and set a new pattern for the hospitality industry.

The seven UNITE HERE locals in Hawaii, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Detroit, and Boston bargained separately, but similar contract expiration dates allowed 7,700 workers to strike Marriott at the same time.

Election Roundup: A Mixed Bag, But Good Riddance to Scott Walker

How did states with high-profile union fights fare in the 2018 midterms? The elections were a mixed bag.

Wisconsin union members (and yours truly!) got to vote out the state’s number one union-buster: Scott Walker. He survived a 2012 recall and a 2014 re-election, but the third time was the charm. The governor who rose to the national stage by kneecapping unions was narrowly ousted in a high-turnout election.

Seven thousand hotel workers across the U.S. are on strike against Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain. A strike that started with seven hotels in Boston quickly spread to San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Detroit, and Hawaii.

Marriott’s profits have doubled in five years. In 2016, the hotel chain expanded its empire when it acquired Starwood’s 1,200 properties, including the Westin and Sheraton hotel chains.

Who’s next to join the strike wave? The nation’s second-largest teachers local, in Los Angeles, kicked off the school year with a strike authorization vote.

With 81 percent of teachers voting, 98 percent backed a strike if mediation fails this fall.

After working hard to get out the vote across L.A.’s 900 schools and 35,000 members, this landslide result was “the best feeling ever,” said teacher and union rep Karla Griego.

For 18 months, bargaining has gone nowhere.

Collective bargaining is all but illegal for public sector workers in Wisconsin. So how did Milwaukee teachers not only block major cuts to public schools but also make gains on workload and health care?

At the height of the red-state teacher strikes in April and May, teachers and school employees in Milwaukee passed around a petition at school committing that to win their demands, they were ready to “do whatever it takes.”

As teachers, school employees, and students head back to school, what’s ahead for the #RedforEd movement?

This spring, teachers mobilized on an unprecedented scale in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, and Colorado. They protested, walked out, and even held statewide strikes—in states with limited to no collective bargaining rights, where school unions have traditionally focused on state politics.

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