Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2014


This article explores the origins and ideological practice of public school teacher unionism as it was articulated and revealed in New York City before and during the epochal strike against an experiment in community control of neighborhood schools undertaken by the United Federation of Teachers in the fall of 1968 that closed down the city’s massive public school system for weeks and put almost 1 million school children in the street. How and why did unionized New York City public school teachers support the particular kind of trade unionism that the UFT and its president, Albert Shanker, embodied and practiced in the 1960s? This article examines the ways that a particular form of labor organization and trade union ideology led the UFT and its members to bitterly oppose the community control experiment, an initiative that the union had once supported.


This work was originally published in Labour/Le Travail.



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