While the issues vary from state to state
— and sometimes district to district — the wave of teacher protests, walkouts and strikes has dominated education news ever since West Virginia’s teachers went on strike in late February 2018. Across the country striking teachers are pushing district leaders, state policymakers — and increasingly charter school operators — to address salary issues, declines in education spending and conditions in classrooms.
Many strikes have focused on traditional issues of pay, benefits and time spent on the job. But others have also touched on the impact of charter schools and included demands that teachers say are important to improving the quality of education, such as community schools, counselors and other support personnel.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2018 ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which said requiring non-union members to pay agency fees is unconstitutional, some observers forecasted unions would lose power. But with many strikes resulting in victories for teachers, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Education Dive will continue to update this tracker with essential details on educators’ demands and the outcomes of each strike.
Beginning March 10, 2020
St. Paul Public Schools, Minnesota
The St. Paul Public Schools remain closed Wednesday as the St. Paul Federation of Educators’ strike enters a second day. The district did announce, however, that breakfast and lunch would be served at 24 school sites.
On Tuesday, the union posted an update saying that it had presented the district with a “scaled-down proposal” that stretches out its demand for additional mental health personnel in schools over multiple years “to give the district flexibility.” The update said that the district has not responded to the new proposal.
“We made a sincere effort to work with the district on reaching an agreement that wouldn’t leave any student or educator behind while giving the district flexibility with its budgeting,” SPFE President Nick Faber said in the statement. “We are ready to come back to the table when the district is ready to make some movement.”
In a press conference Tuesday, Superintendent Joe Gothard said that the union’s proposals are “based on supports that our students need” and that sometimes the needs of students “outpace the staff that we have available.” But the district’s bargaining team, he said, has to vet each proposal and address needs in ways that are sustainable. Officials have also said that meeting the union’s demands would significantly exceed what the district budgeted for all of its bargaining units and would impact its ability to provide fair contracts to other unions.
There is still considerable distance between the two sides on the remaining proposals, Gothard said. He added that the district and the union remain in mediation, meaning one side has to invite the other to return to the bargaining table.
Proud to teach some of these kiddos! https://t.co/45WuIRt0Yv
— Alysha Balbo (@SrtaBalbo) March 11, 2020
Jan. 13, 2020
- Thousands of Florida teachers — joined by parents and supporters of public schools — rallied at the statehouse in Tallahassee Monday as part of a push to get state lawmakers to prioritize funding for education during this year’s legislative session.
- The Florida Education Association, which organized Take on Tallahassee, provided transportation for teachers and others to the capital. A march began at the civic center and concluded at the old state capitol. National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia was expected to be among the speakers. Lowering class sizes and assuring that classrooms have qualified teachers are among the union’s demands.
- State law does not allow strikes. With more than 1,000 teachers from the Polk County Public Schools planning to travel to the rally, the district received a message from the state education agency warning that teachers could risk losing their jobs. District officials, however, confirmed that the teachers asked for the day off in advance.
We’re ready to raise our voices in Tallahassee today to rally for public education and our future students❗️A huge thanks goes out to @orange_cta for arranging bus transportation for us today‼️ @StudentFEA @FloridaEA #FundOurFutureFL #RedForEd pic.twitter.com/SiAy4x9b79
— Ms. Jackson (@msjacksonsjam) January 13, 2020
Dec. 3-16, 2019
Willapa Valley School District, Washington
- Members of the Willapa Valley Education Association, about 25 teachers, went on strike against the Willapa Valley School District, which resulted in schools being closed for 10 days. The district, along the central coast, asked teachers to return as bargaining continued and tried to open schools during the strike with administrators providing instruction, but protests by members of other unions prevented the move.
- As with other recent strikes in Washington, salary was the focus of the negotiations, stemming from the state supreme court’s decision in Matthew and Stephanie McCleary et al., v. State of Washington, a school finance case, which included $1 billion for teachers’ salaries on top of $1 billion approved by the legislature. Unions have been winning salary increases of more than 20%.
- WVEA members won a 13.5% increase over three years, in addition to a 23% increase last year. Other provisions in the contract include an additional $300 per student if a special education caseload goes over 25 and pay rates for leading extracurricular activities.
Nov. 19, 2019
- Thousands of teachers are expected to gather at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis Tuesday as part of a Red for Ed rally organized by the Indiana State Teachers Association. Tuesday is also the first day that state lawmakers return to begin the 2020 legislative session.
- While the protest is not an official strike, 130 of the state’s 291 school districts have opted to close. Some districts are holding elearning days and others moved a previously scheduled professional development day to Tuesday. Indianapolis Public Schools, for example, posted a notice saying that “In support of IPS teachers planning to attend” the event, the district would make Tuesday a PD day.
- Teachers are demonstrating for pay increases, to not be held accountable for drops in test scores after the implementation of a new state test and for the repeal of a new PD requirement. During the last legislative session, lawmakers passed a requirement that teachers complete 15 hours of PD related to local workforce needs as part of their license renewal.
— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) November 19, 2019
Nov. 14, 2019
Little Rock School District, Arkansas
- Members of the Little Rock Education Association held a one-day strike against the Little Rock School District in protest of the Arkansas Board of Education’s decision to not recognize the union as the district’s bargaining agent. Members are picketing at their schools in the morning hours and then plan assemble at the regularly scheduled State Board of Education meeting and march to the state capitol.
- The board’s decision follows the Arkansas Board of Education’s move to return limited control of the 23,000-student district to a state-appointed Community Advisory Board. The state assumed control of the district in January 2015 because of low performance at several schools.
- The advisory board, however, has backed off a controversial plan that would have kept the district’s lower-performing schools, where student enrollment is predominantly black, under state control. The union and other critics argue that the plan essentially would have created a separate and unequal system in the city where efforts to desegregate schools began.
- The union’s contract with the district expired at the end of October, while individual employees’ contracts remain in place through June 2020.
- Schools remained open, and the district held hiring events to recruit substitutes to prepare for the strike. Many parents, however, kept their children home from school. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said he was disappointed the union chose to strike.
Nov. 13-15, 2019
West Sonoma Union High School District, Sebastopol, California
- Members of the West Sonoma County Teachers Association went on strike against the West Sonoma Union High School District, which includes three high schools, for three days after failing to reach an agreement over salary increases. The district’s plan to reduce the school day from seven to six periods as a cost-saving measure also angered the union and some members of the community.
- Schools remained open, but many students walked the picket lines with their teachers. An agreement was reached on Nov. 15 that gives the teachers a 12% raise over three years, but with the third year’s increase dependent on a March 2020 parcel tax vote. Health benefits will also increase, but the union and the district will continue evaluating health, vision and dental benefit plans. School psychologists, speech therapists and nurses are also receiving raises.
- “This is an incredible day for our entire school community,” district Superintendent Toni Beal said in a statement about the tentative agreement. “We value our teachers—this agreement will allow the district and teachers to move forward for the benefit of all students.”
Nov. 7, 2019
Community Consolidated School District #46, Grayslake, Illinois
- The Grayslake Federation of Teachers and the Grayslake Federation of Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel will return to work in CCSD #46 with tentative contract agreement in place.
- Schools were already scheduled to be closed on Friday for a teacher professional development day.
- Wages for both the teachers and the paraprofessionals was the primary issue that led to the strike. Details of the agreement have not yet been made public. The stoppage affected about 3,700 students in the seven-school district, north of Chicago.
Oct. 25, 2019
Dedham Public Schools, Massachusetts
Members of the Dedham Education Association held a one-day strike after failing to reach agreement with the Dedham Public Schools over issues ranging from salaries to student cellphone use.
An agreement was reached over the weekend and teachers returned to work on Monday, Oct. 28. “With this agreement finally settled, we can now get back to what we all love to do – work with colleagues and families to improve the lives of students and help them reach their maximum potential every single day,” Superintendent Michael Welch said in a statement.
The strike was the first by teachers in Massachusetts in 12 years. Because state law does not allow public employees to strike, the union could face penalties.
Beginning Oct. 22-25, 2019
Passages Charter School, Chicago
After a four-day strike, teachers at Passages Charter School, who are represented by the Chicago Teachers Union, signed a tentative agreement with Asian Family Services that increases pay and adds provisions related to rights for paraprofessionals and special education teachers.
The approximately 40 teachers at the preK-8 school, were also calling for wraparound services for immigrant and refugee students, including social workers, counselors and psychologists. According to the nonprofit agency that runs the school, the agreement will still “protect the financial stability of the school.”
On the night of Oct. 24, Passages teachers planned to picket outside an AHS fundraising event, but the organization canceled the event and resumed bargaining. This was the fourth charter strike in Chicago since February.
Oct. 17-31, 2019
Chicago Public Schools
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union will return to school Friday after an 11-day strike against the Chicago Public Schools. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has agreed to add five makeup days to the school year.
Even though CTU tentatively accepted a deal Wednesday night, the union refused to return to work on Thursday because Lightfoot had not agreed to the makeup time, holding firm on a position she took even before the strike began.
Votes of CTU’s House of Delegates on the contract agreement were far from unanimous — there were 362 votes in favor of the contract and 242 opposed. The agreement includes 209 additional social worker positions, 250 nursing positions, “enforceable class size limits,” $35 million to reduce class sizes — beginning in schools with the neediest students — a reversal of the city’s increase in employees’ health insurance costs, and a sports committee with a $5 million budget for coach stipends and sports equipment.
Oct. 14-23, 2019
Park County School District Re-2, Fairplay, Colorado
- Members of South Park Education Association returned to work today in Park County School District Re-2, in Fairplay, Colorado, while they wait for the state Department of Labor to begin a fact-finding process.
- “After mediating strong reentry conditions for the educators who were forced to strike, SPEA will follow the DoL’s recommendation for educators to return to school tomorrow as the fact-finding process begins,” according to the SPEA update.
- With three outgoing board members, the union said it has decided not to sign a professional agreement at this time and wait to negotiate with new board members. Members say their actions have been driven by a desire to reduce teacher turnover in the district.
Oct. 3-9, 2019
Murphysboro Community Unit School District #186, Illinois
- After a five-day strike, the Murphysboro Education Association reached a tentative deal with the Murphysboro Community Unit School District #186 in Southern Illinois.
- “Our students will always be our first priority,” the union posted on its Facebook page. “We are pleased we’ve finally reached a tentative agreement that puts our students first.”
- Details of the agreement were not immediately announced, and the school board still has to vote on the deal.
- Officials in the 2,100-student closed schools and canceled practices and other school-sponsored activities during the strike. Similar to other recent strikes, the union argued that additional state funding should result in more money for teachers, while district officials argued they were offering all they could afford.
Aug. 27-30, 2019
Kennewick School District, Washington
- Members of the Kennewick Education Association went on strike after failing to reach a contract agreement with the 18,990-student Kennewick School District (KSD), in central Washington.
- On Thursday, KEA and KSD reached an agreement, but the district was waiting for the union to ratify the agreement before releasing details of the offer. The union has argued that the district is losing teachers to neighboring Richland and Pasco districts where teachers can earn more. Schools remain closed, but will start on Sept. 3.
- Meanwhile as negotiations were continuing, the district filed an injunction in an effort to get teachers back to work. The union responded by filing an unfair labor practices complaint with the Public Employment Relations Commission.
- The salary dispute is related to the same issue that led to strikes at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year in at least 14 districts across the state. The state supreme court’s decision in Matthew and Stephanie McCleary et al., v. State of Washington, a school finance case, included $1 billion for teachers’ salaries on top of $1 billion approved by the legislature. Unions have been winning salary increases of more than 20%.
Aug. 27-30, 2019
Toutle Lake School District, Washington
- Members of the Toutle Lake Education Association (TLEA) went on strike against the Toutle Lake School District, in southwest Washington. The 660-student district delayed the beginning of school because of the strike.
- On Thursday, TLEA and the district reached a tentative agreement of a 4.5% salary increase for the 2019-20 school year, a 3% salary increase for the 2020-21 school year and a 2.5% salary increase for the 2021-22 school year. Teachers will return to work on Sept. 3 and students will start school on Sept. 4. “Thank you for your patience as we worked through this difficult time,” said a statement from the district. “We are excited to reunify and refocus our collective energy on our goal of supporting student learning.”
- Even though teachers received a 17% raise last year, the union argued in negotiations that an additional 6% in state funding for districts to help pay teachers with more years of experience should go toward additional salary increases.
- The district responded that the funds were “intended to help with what Toutle Lake School District is already paying staff who fall in salary cells above and beyond the amount for which the district is getting funded, due to the experience degrees of those staff members.”
Aug. 12-15, 2019
Forestville Union School District, California
- Members of the Forestville Teachers Association in Sonoma County, California, returned to work Friday after a four-day strike that involved 16 teachers at the Forestville School and Academy.
- Teachers were on strike Thursday when students went back to class for the first day of the year, but only about half of the school’s 310 students attended.
- The three-year contract deal includes a 5% pay raise for the first two years and a 3% raise in the third year.
June 10, 2019
Franklin Lakes School District, New Jersey
- After a one-day strike, members of the Franklin Lakes Education Association reached a contract deal with the Franklin Lakes School District, north of Newark, New Jersey. About 270 teachers walked out on strike Monday, saying they have been working without a contract for two years. According to a statement from the New Jersey Education Association, the “crushing cost of imposed health care contributions” was a central issue in the union’s decision to strike.
“We were proud to march with our colleagues in Franklin Lakes yesterday as they took a stand for students, for fairness, and for the future of public education in Franklin Lakes,” New Jersey Education Association officers said in a statement. “Today, we are glad to congratulate them on achieving a contract settlement that reflects those priorities.” Details of the settlement were not immediately available.
The school district called the strike an “illegal job action” and asked a superior court judge to intervene and order the teachers back to work. The district’s position was that the union had refused to participate in negotiations unless the district meets certain “pre-conditions.”
Schools remained open, but the 1,100-student district also notified parents of the strike before buses began their routes on the day of the strike. Students who did attend school were supervised by school administrators.
May 20-June 7, 2019
New Haven Unified School District, California
- Ending a 14-day strike, members of the New Haven Teachers Association (NHTA) ratified a salary agreement with the New Haven Unified School District (NHUSD). Sixty percent of members voted to approve the agreement, which gives teachers a 3% on-schedule raise for the current school year, effective Jan. 1, 2019 (so roughly 1.5% for 2018-19). The agreement also includes a one-time 2.5% bonus for this year, an additional 1% raise for the 2019-20 school year, and potentially another 1% for 2019-20 if revenues are higher than expected.
- “Our unity with each other on the picket lines was an incredible display of power that resulted in some real gains for our union,” NHTA President Joe Ku’e Angeles, said in a statement. “The strike brought us together and made us stronger as a union to fight for our students, connected us with parents in a way we have never seen before in Union City, and expanded the spotlight of the underfunding of public education across California. We have made history together.”
- The extended work stoppage was marked by contentious school board meetings, a parent-led effort to recall board members and 200 hours of negotiations. The strike began with the union demanding a 10% raise over two years and arguing that the district has put money into reserves instead of increasing salaries. The NHUSD, meanwhile, said that while it can cover expenses for the near future, the Alameda County Office of Education has warned that the district is deficit spending.
- The district has cut $3.9 million to balance the 2019-20 budget and was projecting another $4.6 million in cuts to balance the 2020-21 budget — even if teachers didn’t receive a raise. The district said the cuts would result in raising class size caps in the early grades from 26 to 30. Cuts in classified and administrative positions are also expected.
- Schools remained open, but officials reported that only a small percentage of the district’s 12,000 students attended school during the strike. The district also had to calculate grades for high school students without final exams.
May 8, 2019
- Oregon teachers assembled in multiple locations across the state on Wednesday to push for a corporate tax package that would result in an additional $2 billion for K-12 schools. While more than 20 school districts closed school for the day, and few planned half days, most were planning to remain open.
- The Student Success Act would represent an 18% increase in funding, according to an Oregon Education Association flyer. “This is our moment — lawmakers are seriously considering this investment in our future, the political stage is set, and pressure from educators, parents, advocates and supporters is mounting,” the flyer says. Class sizes are a central focus of the protests.
- Rallies and demonstrations were held in at least eight locations, including the Portland metro area, Salem, Eugene and the South Coast.
Today tens of thousands of educators across Oregon are standing up, united for our students. Schools should be able to afford small class sizes and programs like art, music, and PE. It’s time to invest in our students! #RedforEd pic.twitter.com/vTpdAURyB1
— OEA (@oregoneducation) May 8, 2019
May 2-6, 2019
Chicago charter schools
- About 70 teachers at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, a high school, and Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy, which serves older youth, signed a tentative agreement with the nonprofit Instituto del Progreso Latino Monday night. The agreement includes class-size reductions, sanctuary protections for the school’s large Latino and immigrant population, and services for English learners and special education students. They also won salary increases that bring their pay closer to that of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers and lower-wage clerical workers received the right to join the union.
- Teachers at Latino Youth High School (LYHS) a charter for 16- to 21-year-olds still working toward a high school diploma, returned to work May 6 after a two-day strike. The school is operated by Pilsen Wellness Center, a nonprofit organization providing mental health, substance use counseling and other services. According to the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which represents the charter school teachers, managers were asking for a longer school day and extending the school year while backtracking on some benefits in the contract.
- A tentative agreement for LYHS reached over the weekend includes mental health support for students, including a school counselor, salaries that are close to what CPS teachers are earning, better maternity/paternity benefits, a shorter workday that doesn’t cut back on instructional time, a restorative justice program and sanctuary protections for students.
- In a statement, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools said that it was disappointed that CTU held the strike authorization vote. “If the CTU was sincere about doing what’s best for children, it would prevent strikes,” the statement said. “The union could accomplish much more by supporting legislation in Springfield that provides fair funding, enabling charter public schools to meet the needs of their educators and improve communities.” CPS CEO Janice Jackson also tried to prevent the strike when she sent a letter to the CTU asking the teachers not to strike and saying students could be at risk “without access to a safe and supportive learning environment.”
May 1, 2019
- Teachers across the state reported to the state capitol in Raleigh on May 1 for a North Carolina Education Association “Day of Action” to call for more funding for schools and positions, such as social workers, counselors and nurses. On pay, they want a 5% raise and increases for teachers with advanced degrees and the most experience. They also want the state to expand Medicaid and to hold call a statewide school construction bond issue to address outdated facilities.
- Roughly 50,000 teachers are were expected to participate. Several school districts closed for the day and some modified schedules to treat Wednesday as a teacher workday.
- The state was part of the initial wave of teacher protests last year when roughly 20,000 teachers staged a one-day walkout at the state capitol, forcing districts to close schools. That protest also focused on teachers taking on second jobs to cover expenses and a decline in state education spending. A March Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report showed that North Carolina was one of four states in which education spending increased following last year’s strikes and protests. But that funding levels are still below pre-recession levels.
May 1, 2019
- South Carolina teachers launched their own #RedforEd action on May 1, gathering at the state capitol in Columbia to call for smaller class sizes, less testing and a limit on the growth of charter schools. They are also protesting the 4% raise proposed by the state Senate. Teachers that are part of the #SCforEd organization have called for a 10% increase.
- Some districts closed schools, including the Chester County School District, which expressed support for the teachers. Others closed for the day because they don’t have enough staff members to provide student instruction and supervision.
- According to WLTX, a spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said the walkout will disrupt families’ lives and “send the wrong message.” In January, some South Carolina teachers rallied at the state capitol in Columbia to ask for higher pay and more input into state policy.
April 11, 2019
Sacramento City Unified School District, California
- Members of the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) held a one-day strike, arguing that the Sacramento City Unified School District has not abided by the terms of the contract with the union and is putting the district in a position to be taken over by the state. Schools remained open in the 48,000-student district.
- In March, 92% of the union’s members voted in favor of a strike, accusing SCUSD of “unfair labor practices” that include not adhering to a class size reduction plan, changing teachers’ wages and working conditions, and not meeting with union representatives. On March 26, SCTA also sued the district, saying that it violated open meetings laws by discussing budget issues in a closed session and then passed a resolution calling for layoffs based on that budget discussion. The union and the district also disagree over how to use healthcare savings.
- SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said that while he wanted to avoid a strike, he couldn’t “risk sacrificing the district’s immediate or long-term fiscal health as this would also hurt our students today and for many years into the future.” He said he would continue to consider SCTA’s suggestions for avoiding insolvency. The two sides met on Monday, but their issues were not resolved.
- Following the strike, the district issued a statement calling for a “cease fire,” saying it understands community members don’t want to get caught in the middle and that it would back off plans to file an unfair labor practice charge against the union. “Instead, we will focus on working together with a coalition of labor, business, community and elected officials to avoid a state takeover and address our budget challenges,” the statement said.
— Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) April 11, 2019
Feb. 22, 2019
Inspire Kids, Goshen, New York
- Inspire Staff United held a one-day strike against Inspire, officially known as the Orange County Cerebral Palsy Association, which runs programs and services for children with developmental disabilities.
- Affiliated with New York State United Teachers, the teachers — who work at the Inspire Kids preschool — are protesting the lack of a contract, high turnover, “insufficient pay,” and what they describe as a stressful work environment.
- In a statement on its Facebook page, Inspire says turnover has declined in recent years and is below the industry average, that pay is on par with similar nonprofit organizations, and that caseloads are significantly lower than those of school districts. “The union claims they are striking for the children, but their actions are directly impacting the children’s education and affecting the families,” the statement says.
Feb. 21-March 1, 2019
Oakland Unified School District, California
Teachers in the 36,000-student Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) went on strike, with a contract proposal that included a 12% raise over three years to improve teacher retention, class-size reductions, lower counselor-to-student ratios, and more school psychologists and nurses.
A neutral fact-finding report supported much of the union’s demands, but district leaders said the district could not afford most of what the union wanted. The tentative agreement, however, includes an 11% raise, another 3% bonus when the contract is ratified, phased in class-size reductions, and lower caseloads for special education teachers and counselors.
The union also opposed plans to close up to 24 schools over the next few years, which the district had said was necessary for its long-term financial stability. The agreement includes a “five-month pause” on any closures.
As in Los Angeles, the 3,000-member union also said that the “unchecked growth of charter schools“ is hurting traditional public schools. Under the agreement, the OUSD school board will vote on a resolution asking the state to put a moratorium on new charter schools. Schools remained open during the strike.
OPINION in @EdSource : @SupKylaOUSD says “I know a strike will be difficult for students, staff, and families alike…On behalf of the entire #Oakland community, I am disappointed and frustrated that we are all in this situation again.” Read more: https://t.co/mico3VHXpX pic.twitter.com/b1ZdXfYuWp
— Oakland Schools (@OUSDNews) February 21, 2019
Feb. 19-March 1, 2019
Summit Academy Parma Community School, Ohio
- About 25 teachers at the K-12 Summit Academy Parma Community School went on strike calling for improvements in health and safety conditions, smaller class sizes and planning time.
- The school, which serves about 200 students, is part of a network of charter schools in Ohio that serves students with behavioral issues and disabilities, such as autism. The teachers are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff.
- After being out for nine days, the teachers ratified a contract that includes guidelines regarding class sizes and staffing, creates a binding grievance and arbitration process and establishes a labor-management committee to address future issues. While the teachers did not receive a raise, salary issues are expected to be revisited at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.
- The strike was the first for a charter school in Ohio and the fourth charter strike in the U.S.
Feb. 19-20, 2019
Roughly a year after a statewide strike, West Virginia’s three education associations agreed to call a work stoppage, citing frustration over legislation that would have created the state’s first charter schools, established education savings accounts, and penalized teachers that strike.
The controversial bill was tabled the same day, but teachers and service personnel continued the work stoppage for a second day until the bill was officially dead.
Senate President Mitch Carmichael referred to teachers as “champions of the status quo” in an Associated Press article, while the education organizations said a press conference they have “trust issues” with Carmichael and the Senate leaders. Fifty-four of the 55 counties in the state closed schools.
— Rebecca Klein (@rklein90) February 20, 2019
Feb. 11-13, 2019
Denver Public Schools, Colorado
- After months of negotiations and a request from the Denver Public Schools for the state to intervene in the contract dispute, the 3,000-member Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) went on strike. Schools remained open except for district-run early-childhood education programs, and both sides resumed bargaining on the second day of the strike.
- The major differences between the district and the union centered around ProComp, a pay-for-performance initiative supported with a property tax increase passed by Denver voters in 2005. Teachers argued that the system was too complex, that it was difficult for teachers to predict their annual income from year to year, and that greater increases in base pay — not one-time incentives — were needed to attract and retain teachers.
- After several hours of negotiations stretching into the morning of Feb. 14, the 92,000-student district and DCTA reached an agreement on a three-year contract that, according to a DCTA press release, includes base salary increases ranging from 7% to 11%, “a clear and transparent 20-step salary schedule,” cost-of-living agreements in years two and three of the contract, and the ability to use professional development to earn higher pay on the schedule. The agreement would also end high bonuses for senior-level district administrators.
Feb. 5-19, 2019
Four schools in the Chicago International Charter Schools network, Chicago
- About 175 teachers at four schools within the Chicago International Charter Schools (CISC) network went on strike, calling for higher wages for teachers and arguing against higher caseloads for counselors and school social workers to pay for those salary increases. The strike affected about 2,200 students.
- While the network includes 14 campuses, the strike only involved the four schools managed by Civitas Education Partners: CICS Wrightwood Elementary School, CICS Ralph Ellison High School, CICS Northtown Academy High School and CICS ChicagoQuest High School.
- In a deal, the teachers, who are represented by the Chicago Teachers Union, will receive salaries on par with those of teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. The agreement also includes class size limits. CISC schools remained open during the strike.
Jan. 15-25, 2019
The Accelerated Schools charter network, Los Angeles, California
- Represented by United Teachers Los Angeles, about 80 teachers who work for the Los Angeles charter network went on strike after failing to reach an agreement with founder and CEO Johnathan Williams over pay and health benefits. The strike was the first for a charter network in California and the second in the nation.
- The teachers also argued for job protections, such as due process rights and binding arbitration. Another concern was high teacher turnover.
- The schools serve about 1,850 students. While schools remained open, attendance ran at about 50%.
Jan. 14-21, 2019
Los Angeles Unified School District, California
- More than 30,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles began striking after failing to reach an agreement on a contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The union called for higher salaries, lower class sizes and more educator positions, such as nurses and school librarians.
- Schools remained open during the strike, but daily attendance for the almost 500,000-student district hovered around 100,000.
- After six days, the strike ended with a contract that included much of what the union requested, as well as a commitment from the district to expand community schools, call for a statewide moratorium on charter schools and work with the city to replace unused portable classrooms with green space.
- In ratifying the contract, the LAUSD board also passed a resolution calling on the state to study the impact of charter schools on district schools, including issues such as co-location.
Dec. 5-9, 2018
Acero Schools, charter network, Chicago, Illinois
- The nation’s first charter school strike took place in Chicago among teachers with the 15-school Acero network, with demands for higher pay, lower class sizes, more special education staff members and sanctuary protections for immigrant students. The schools serve a large Hispanic student population.
- Represented by the Chicago Teachers Union, about 500 educators and other staff members, including counselors and paraprofessionals, were on strike, affecting about 7,500 students.
- The strike ended after four days, with teachers getting compensation that is in line with that of Chicago Public Schools’ teachers, as well as a 30-student cap on class sizes and a shorter school year.
Dec. 5-10, 2018
Geneva School District 304, Illinois
- More than 400 members of the Geneva Education Association went on strike after negotiations over salaries broke down without an agreement, affecting about 6,000 students.
- Teachers sought salary increases that would put them on par with those in neighboring districts and argued for a traditional pay structure that would reward veteran teachers. The district, however, pushed for a new model to attract teachers.
- As part of the compromise over a five-year contract, teachers would see average annual pay raises of almost 4% and entry-level teachers would see a 14.5% increase, while teachers leading extracurricular activities and teaching summer school would also receive higher stipends.
Aug. 24-Sept. 17. 2018
Multiple districts, Washington
- Teachers in at least 14 school districts across the state of Washington went on strike around the beginning of the school year over salary issues related to the state supreme court’s decision in Matthew and Stephanie McCleary et al., v. State of Washington, a school finance case in which the court ruled the state was underfunding education.
- The state legislature approved $1 billion for teachers’ and other school staff members’ salaries for the 2018-19 school year, but as part of the McCleary settlement, the court directed the state to add another $1 billion for educators’ salaries — kicking off contract negotiations across the state. While some districts were able to negotiate new contracts, teachers in multiple districts were not being offered pay increases in line with what their counterparts in other districts were seeing. That’s what led to the strikes.
- Thousands of teachers and roughly 120,000 students were affected by the strikes, which ultimately ended with teachers negotiating salary increases averaging about 18%. Beginning with the Longview Public Schools and ending in the Tumwater School District, teachers also went on strike in the Tacoma, Puyallup, Tukwila, Stanwood-Camano, Rainier, Centralia, Ridgefield, Hockinson, Evergreen, Vancouver, Battle Ground and Washougal districts.
- Paraeducators in the Port Angeles School District also went on strike Nov. 15-16, with teachers refusing to cross the picket lines, which closed schools.
Aug. 8-10, 2018
Banning Unified School District, California
- Teachers in the Banning Unified School District, west of Palm Springs, California, began striking on the first day of the school year.
- Disagreements between the Banning Teachers Association and the district focused largely on an extra 52 minutes of uncompensated instructional time added for teachers at Nicolet Middle School that was not part of the negotiated contract.
- The agreement, which ended the three-day strike, included reducing the 52 minutes to 20 minutes and $300,000 in back pay for the extra hours worked.
May 16, 2018
- Roughly 20,000 teachers from across the state staged a one-day walkout at the state capitol in Raleigh, forcing districts to close schools.
- The protest focused on wages, having to work second jobs to cover expenses and a decline in state education spending. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper agreed with educators’ demands, saying he was calling for higher taxes on corporations and those earning above $200,000 per year.
- When the Republican-controlled legislature released its budget a couple weeks later, it included a 6.5% pay increase, with a base salary of $50,000 for teachers who have 15 to 24 years of experience and a maximum of $52,000 for those with at least 25 years in the classroom.
May 7-11, 2018
Pueblo District 60, Colorado
- Teachers in Pueblo District 60 in Colorado went on strike after the school board denied the Pueblo Education Association’s request for a cost-of-living pay increase as part of contract negotiations.
- Union leaders said teachers felt disrespected, while board members said they have other financial obligations. In a deal, teachers received a 2% retroactive raise, another 2.5% cost-of-living salary increase the following September and an extra $50 contribution from the district to insurance premiums.
April 16, 26-27, 2018
- Frustration over salaries not keeping pace with inflation and a shortfall in funding for the state’s pension plan came to a head in mid-April, when so many teachers in the Englewood Schools used personal leave to hold a protest that the district had to close for the day. Their demonstration sparked similar, larger walkouts at the state capitol in Denver later that month, with the largest involving roughly 10,000 teachers on April 27.
- Teachers were never officially on strike, but because the bulk of teachers were taking personal time to participate in the rallies, most schools closed because they wouldn’t have enough substitutes. Two Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would fine teachers who walked out, but the bill was defeated.
- When Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the fiscal 2018-19 budget in May, it included a 6.95% increase in state education funding. Teachers also pinned their hopes on a November ballot initiative — Great Schools, Thriving Communities, which would have generated $1.6 billion for a Quality Public Education Fund — but the measure didn’t pass.
April 26-May 3, 2018
- The #RedforEd movement took off in Arizona when teachers in the right-to-work state protested low pay and cuts to education.
- Republican Gov. Doug Ducey tried to prevent the statewide walkout by proposing a 20% pay increase over a three-year period and to restore education funding to pre-recession levels — which came with a $1 billion price tag — but teachers also wanted raises for paraprofessionals and other support staff members, a new salary structure and no new tax cuts.
- Ultimately, after six days, teachers got raises, but the rates varied considerably at the district level. Other demands, such as pay increases for counselors and librarians, were not met.
April 2, 2018
- On the same day that Oklahoma teachers went on strike, Kentucky teachers crowded into the state capitol building in Frankfort to protest the end of a pension plan for teachers.
- While many of the state’s 120 districts were on spring break, teachers who were supposed to go to work called in sick, while some districts closed schools to allow teachers to attend the rally.
- While the pension bill was signed into law, teachers welcomed an increase in per-pupil funding for Support Education Excellence in Kentucky, the state’s primary school finance formula.
April 2-12, 2018
- After years of education budget cuts, members of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) went on strike, with a list of demands that included a $10,000 raise and $200 million in increased funding for schools over three years.
- The legislature had actually passed a $6,100 raise before the walkout started, increasing taxes on cigarettes, motor fuel, and oil and gas production — but teachers pushed for more, including legislation ending an exemption on capital gains taxes, which did not pass.
- After nine days out of school, the OEA called for an end to the strike, saying they had accomplished as much as they could.
Feb. 22-March 7, 2018
- West Virginia teachers and other school personnel — some 34,000 employees — went on strike, shutting down schools in all 55 of the state’s counties.
- In addition to receiving a 5% salary increase and protesting a hike in healthcare costs, the educators’ complaints also ultimately defeated bills that would have expanded charter schools, eliminated seniority and taken away unions’ ability to deduct dues from paychecks.