After six long, sometimes raucous days of striking, Los Angeles teachers ended their protest claiming victories that included lower class sizes, more support staff, and commitments from the district to invest in socially minded initiatives.

In other words, the contract negotiations went far beyond the bread-and-butter issues typical in labor disputes, and instead were centered on a more philosophical discussion of how the United Teachers Los Angeles views the future of public education in the city. That’s a model of bargaining that some say is likely to be replicated in Chicago this year, as well as in Oakland, Calif., where teachers are gearing up for their own strike.

This shift in collective bargaining—known as bargaining for the common good—comes after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that many have predicted will weaken unions’ coffers and membership rolls. Like in Los Angeles, teachers’ unions might start bringing broader social concerns to the bargaining table in an attempt to maintain community support.


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