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Title:Illinois Teacher Leaders' Perceptions of the Meanings and Significance of Strikes for Teachers and Teachers' Organizations
Author(s):Pittman, Joanna Beggs
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Abstract:The problem posed by the study was to investigate teacher strike leaders' opinions of collective bargaining and their strike experience to provide answers to five questions: (1)Who are the teacher union strike leaders and what motivates them?; (2)What do teacher strike leaders believe about the professional status of teaching? Do their beliefs relate to strike issues and results?; (3)Why are teachers striking?; (4)If there are discrepancies between strike issues and negotiation results, how do they affect the motivation and trust perceptions of teacher strike leaders?; (5)Do teacher strike leaders believe the negotiation process is the vehicle for balancing power and changing the school system? If so, how do they rate their progress?
Structured interviews with 20 teacher union leaders, the local president and a negotiator, from ten 1978 striking school districts in Illinois with a negotiation history, provided the data.
The Results. (1)Teachers who led strikes in 1978 were master teachers as indicated by their experience and training. The leaders were more male than female, whose average age was 33, and 50% experienced their first strike. A majority of the leaders, 70%, did not receive money or released time for union work. The motivating factor reported by all of the leaders was the "unity" of striking teachers. (2)Teacher strike leaders were ambivalent on the professional status of teaching. They believed that individually they were professionals, however, collectively the teaching occupation was rated as a semi-profession. Limits to professional status were identified as low salaries, lack of influence on the allocation of school funds and teacher policies, and not being treated as professionals by school authorities. (3)Teacher leaders led the strike in their school district to relieve teacher dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction with school authorities' decisions angered and mobilized the teachers. The strike issues were categorized. All issues involved reallocation of school funds, salary increases, and were perceived as essential for teaching improvement. The issues affecting the use of teachers' time significantly increased teachers' decision-making. (4)The strike results, measured by winning or losing issues in the negotiated settlement, had a direct and significant relationship on teacher leaders' perceptions of trust and motivation toward the union. Leaders with winning perceptions believed the strike enhanced teachers' image, raised morale, and improved education. Teacher union membership increased and leaders became more involved. Leaders with losing perceptions believed the strike dissatisfaction lowered teacher morale, education suffered, and they felt personally responsible. Union confidence diminished, teacher membership declined, dissatisfaction was redirected to union authorities and a bargaining election with the competing union was considered. All teacher strike leaders believed the most negative strike result for teachers was the increased animosity toward school authorities and teachers who crossed picket lines. (5)Teacher strike leaders believed, 100%, in the negotiation process to give teachers respect, a voice, and to gain an equal partnership in decision making with school authorities. The leaders believed through negotiations they were holding their own or gaining with school authorities. They expressed the belief that they had nothing to lose, slipping was not possible, the only way to go was forward.
Issue Date:1981
Description:132 p.
Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8114461
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1981

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