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Grant number: FT-229578-15

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Jon K Shelton
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay (Green Bay, WI 54311-7003)

Teacher Strikes and the Decline of Labor-Liberalism in the U.S.A., 1968-81

Summer research and writing on History, and Labor and U.S. History.

This project uses case studies of lengthy and controversial strikes by unionized teachers during the late 1960s and 1970s to help explain the broader political shift in the US from a labor-liberalism built on a commitment to state intervention and unionization to a new politics of austerity and neoliberalism by the early 1980s. I show that when teachers -- as representatives of both the labor movement and the state -- went on strike for lengthy periods of time, it forced many Americans to consider two key, unresolved tensions in postwar labor-liberalism: the rights of public sectors to organize and to strike, and the failure of the state to alleviate structural inequalities in housing, education, and other economic opportunities caused by racially discriminatory New Deal policies. This study, therefore, contributes to a growing field of labor, political, and cultural history of the postwar era that explains the rightward shift in American politics.

Project fields:
History, Other; Labor History; U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 8/31/2015