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.
In 2012, Chicago teachers built a grassroots movement through education and engagement of an entire union membership, taking militant action in the face of enormous structural barriers and a hostile Democratic Party leadership. The teachers won massive concessions from the city and have become a new model for school reform led by teachers themselves, rather than by billionaires. Strike for America is the story of this movement, and how it has become the defining struggle for the labor movement today.
“Indefatigable reporting and elegant writing backed by an erudite command of the relevant history, and by precious on-the-ground experience as an organizer. Uetricht’s first book establishes him as the most exciting young labor writer today.” –Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
“A short, accessible guide to one of the most important and inspiring events of our time.”–Brian Jones, member of the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators
“A wonderfully readable, smart account of the CTU’s transformation into a democratic, militant union that with its community partners took on Chicago and the nation’s power elite.” –Lois Weiner, author The Future of Our Schools: Teachers Unions and Social Justice
“An indispensable account of a strike that was badly misconstrued and underreported by the mainstream media. Uetricht not only tells the story lucidly, but explains why the struggle of teachers in Chicago should matter to all of us.” –Liza Featherstone, author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers’ Rights at Wal-Mart