The Chicago Teachers Union strike was the most important domestic labor struggle so far this century—and perhaps for the last forty years—and the strongest challenge to the conservative agenda for restructuring education, which advocates for more charter schools and tying teacher salaries to standardized testing, among other changes.
The teachers took on the bipartisan, free market school reform agenda that is currently exacerbating inequality in education and waging war on teachers' livelihoods. In the age of austerity, when the public sector is under attack, Chicago teachers fought back—and won.
The strike was years in the making. Chicago teachers spent a long time building a grassroots movement to educate and organize the entire union membership. They stood up against hostile mayors, billionaire-backed reformers out to destroy unions, and even their own intransigent union leadership, to take militant action. The Chicago protest has become a model for how reforms to the school system can be led by teachers and communities. It offers inspiration for workers looking to create democratic, fighting unions. Strike for America is the story of this movement and how it triumphed in the defining struggle for workers today.