A String of Illegal Teacher Strikes

Although illegal, teacher strikes and other work stoppages became more frequent as the unions sought to tilt control away from school management. In 1966, the first full year after Michigan teachers began establishing bargaining units and taking steps to organize, nine school districts experienced their first teacher strikes. By 1967, 36 school districts did not open school on time.

Some districts were forced to obtain injunctions in order to open their schools, while others experienced work stoppages for extended periods of time. Still others suffered the resignation of their entire teaching staffs.12 School boards were unprepared to confront these situations and as a result many of them bargained away their responsibilities without even realizing it.

This new adversarial relationship between district officials and teachers had an immediate effect on the resources available for education. The most striking was the doubling of annual percentage increase in teacher salaries in the first year of collective bargaining, followed by a tripling in the second year.13