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In 1968, New York teachers went on strike in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville School District in Brooklyn after a dozen teachers and six administrators were unilaterally dismissed. The school district was established by the New York City Department of Education as an experiment in community control in the mostly African American neighborhood.

The locally elected school board dismissed the teachers, who were white, for their hostility to community control. The teachers union (United Federation of Teachers, or UFT), struck schools across Ocean Hill-Brownsville, demanding the teachers be rehired. The strike spread across the entire city and lasted about two months until the New York State Education Commission trusteed the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district, rehired the teachers, and took control over the school.

Published in Labor

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Leftist at Work Column

The Leftist at Work column is a space for leftists to talk about the ways in which they organize in their workplace – whether it is how they talk with coworkers about political issues, how they are trying to build or revitalize a union, or how they orient their political perspectives to sync with their daily jobs. Some leftists find themselves confronting issues they didn’t expect would come up in their work. Other people find that they work for a non-profit or union that constrains their range of political activities. We’ll hear from organizers that struggle to balance their radical politics with the realities of working for an organization with more of a reform orientation. We’ll also hear from people who may work in an unionized workplace but try to bring their broader politics into the workplace – such as anti-racism, anti-war, or pro-immigrant rights.

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