Southside Pride: Even if coordinated strikes don't happen, this is historic

The complex and dramatic history of an illegal teachers’ strike that forever altered labor relations and Minnesota politicsSpeaking of the last time MFT members struck, there is quite a tale hanging thereby. And who is better suited to write that tale than a person who has sat on the Minneapolis school board, stepped in to rescue the school system as superintendent for four years when it had a leadership crisis, and was a professor of history at Augsburg University both before and after his stint as MPS superintendent? That very person, Dr. William (Bill) Green, has done just that. [Strike: Twenty Days in 1970 When Minneapolis Teachers Broke the Law]

Asked if the strikers got their demands in the end, Dr. Green revealed the third reason he had to write this book: “They did, and here’s the thing that makes that strike historic, in my opinion: They changed the law of the state. … And in a sense, that was much more important than the other issues they were bargaining for. The law that was changed basically placed the state on the side of labor in a way that it hadn’t been in the past, whereas before, the state was anti-labor because it kept labor from staking a position and being viewed as equals, as people. There was an incremental improvement over the quality of life – and that’s one of the reasons you haven’t seen strikes. … When these people, who had invested decades of their lives to an institution and had accrued reasonable retirement funds, benefits, and things of that nature – when they threw it all out to pick up a placard and go to the streets to fight for something like the change of a law, that, to me, means you’re talking about a lot of heroes here. Ordinary people acted heroically. That’s what the story, for me, is about.”

Full article at Southside Pride.

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