‘We’re being assertive’: Arizona teachers feel new power as strikes set to end

(The week-long strike led to the closure of schools across 110 districts, affecting 1.1 million public school students in the state. Photograph: Ross D Franklin/AP)

Over at the Guardian, Payday Senior Labor Reporter Mike Elk filed a dispatch for the Guardian from the Tuscon May Day protest, where teachers are winding the first-ever statewide strike in Arizona history:

“We’re teachers and we do everything that we are supposed to do. Teachers become teachers, [and] we don’t rock the boat. When people ask us to do something we do it. We’re polite, we’re not rabble-rousers,” said 57-year old Mario Garcia, a teacher at Mary Belle McCorkle elementary school in Tucson.

Now, Garcia said he was seeing a major shift.

“I see so many people that you would never expect to see at a protest. Something has changed.”

Veteran teachers said that their colleagues, once apolitical, are quickly turning into activists.

“Teachers don’t talk about these sort of things. We talk about our students every day, but we don’t [usually] talk about how we are underpaid and poorly treated. Now we do,” said 54-year-old art teacher Lisa Bradford. “It’s really exciting, because instead of being passive, as teachers have been in the past, we’re being assertive.”

Go to the Guardian to read the full story. 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is the founder of Payday Report and also covers labor and immigration for The Guardian. In 2015, he was illegally fired for union organizing as Politico’s senior labor reporter and used his $70,000 NLRB settlement to start Payday. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and has dinner with his folks regularly. He can be reached at Melk@PaydayReport.com A Sidney Award winner and proud graduate of Woodland Hills, Elk lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

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