Chicago Teachers Union Founding

2245 W Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60612, US

Category: Unions

Used in the following map:

Labor Trail

Sarah Howard on the Founding of the Chicago Teachers' Union

Founded in the 1930s, the Chicago Teachers' Union became "the progessive force" in education in Chicago, despite the fact that it was officially recognized by the Chicago Board of Education until 1967. In the accompanying video Sarah Howard -- great great grandniece of the legendary labor activist and teacher Lilian Herstein -- describes Chicago teachers' struggle for more school funding and fair labor conditions during the Depression. Between December 1932 and December 1933, Chicago teachers worked without pay, and in 1933 the Board of Education imposed radical budget cuts. They closed schools, increased class sizes, and dropped extracurricular programs. One of the schools the Board of Education closed was the highly popular Crane Junior College, which had opened in 1911 as part of the Crane Technical High School. Although Crane Junior College remained closed until the 1950s -- when it reopened and eventually became Malcolm X College -- Chicago teachers and students forced the Board of Education to open the Herzl Junior College in the North Lawndale neighborhood. In 1937, the many separate teachers' organizations that had been fighting under an ad hoc steering committee formally organized the Chicago Teachers' Union.