Principles to Practice: Philadelphia Educators Putting Social Movement Unionism into Action

Rhiannon M Maton

Abstract


In the wake of Chicago’s well-known teacher strikes in 2012, social movement caucuses are popping up across the USA as teachers seek to better organize through the auspices of their unions in response to what they see as the dismantlement of public education. In this article, I explore how one educator-led social movement caucus, Philadelphia’s Caucus of Working Educators, takes up concepts of activism and social movement unionism in its change-oriented work. I show that educators come to take on identities as activists as they engage in intellectual inquiry into the nature of social movement unionism and grapple with questions about how race and racism shape their Philadelphia context and their organizing work.


Keywords


Unions; Teacher collaboration; Teacher activism; Social movement unionism

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ISSN 1715-0094  Workplace