Teacher Unions provided a platform for negotiations between the teachers and the Board of Education. Without the Unions the Boards of Education would have the teachers working for practically nothing in salary.
When local boards of education and the local politics take hold of a district very little good can come from it in teacher salaries and contracts.
Few people realize that all teachers are required to have a Masters degree in three years or get fired in New York State in the 1960-1990’s. That meant they had to have a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree and a Master of Education degree. They were only one degree away from a Doctoral degree for teaching at Colleges and Universities, yet, locally they never got the professional respect they deserved for teaching the fundamentals and steps of education that students required to succeed. Many teaches went beyond the classroom to help students. Some gave their students motivation, some gave love, some provided mentoring, and in the end, their students always remembered what they did.
Every four years there was a new contract, and every four years the Board of Education would try to stall the new contract by a year or two until the teachers could not take any more since they were behind the cost of living as much as 15% or more. Strikes were the only weapon to get parents involved to support the teachers and their students. Necessary but painful for all parties involved. PKM