Labor strikes

No end in sight for nationwide wave of teacher strikes

Striking teachers marching in LA
Striking public school teachers and their supporters, Jan. 21, Los Angeles. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

In the past year, teachers across the country have initiated a sustained protest movement, challenging school districts and elected officials to allocate funds for increased salaries, benefits and resources to meet the needs of students.

The state of play: The string of walkouts, introduced by West Virginia educators who led a 9-day strike in February of last year, shows no signs of slowing or stopping. Already this year, there have been strikes in Los Angeles, Denver, and Oakland that have resulted in school district concessions.

Teacher walkouts boosted strikes to highest level since 2007

Data: BLS; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

In 2018, there were 20 major work stoppages involving 485,000 workers, the highest since 2007, per new Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Education strikes overwhelmingly dominated, and they show no sign of stopping in 2019.

The big picture: Strikes by educators have been a tipping point in the unrest over wages and other needs. A Chicago Teachers Union strike from 2012, which was the largest that year with 185,500 lost worker days, wouldn't even make the top three in 2018.

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