Chicago Teachers Union
Why this is a big quit:
On September 10, Chicago, the third largest US school district, had its first teachers strike in 25 years. 350,000 students were out of school, and most of their parents left work to take care of their children. The 7-day walkout originated from the national debate over how to improve failing schools. The tension finally broke and the strike suspended after the two parties compromised on a three-year contract. This strike demonstrated the unity of teachers, and may indicate the return of labor unions in the United States after decades of flat membership for public sector (around 36% for 20 years) and rapid decline in the private sector from 24% in 1973 to just 7% last year.
Why it’s not as big as our Top 10:
In the end, the 3 percent salary raise for first year and 2 percent thereafter was not hailed as a great success. The school district did agree to reduce the proportion of teachers’ evaluations based on student test scores. The final contract signed was close to the terms prior to the strike, so the teachers gained little. Is union labor better off? Well in November, the bakers walked out on Hostess, makers of the tasty, but impervious to nature, Twinkie, and other gastronomic wonders. Hostess responded with a total shut down within days, and then irreversible liquidation, coincidentally the same outcome of some of their products.