Ravenna, Ohio, Teachers' Strike
In the spring of 1981, teachers in Ravenna, Ohio went on strike for eighty-five days, the longest teachers' strike in U.S. history.
During the 1970s and the early 1980s, a number of teachers' strikes occurred in Ohio. Low wages, poor benefits, and the lack of state funding upset the teachers, prompting them to go on strike until school districts and the State of Ohio responded to their demands. Teachers struck in several municipalities, including in Dayton, Brunswick, Boardman, Ravenna, and Youngstown.
The Ravenna teachers remained on strike the longest. Their strike, which occurred in the spring of 1981, lasted eighty-five days, making it the longest teachers' strike in United States history. The teachers not only protested outside of schools or administration buildings; they also picketed outside of school officials' and board members' homes and businesses. Authorities arrested numerous teachers. The Ravenna Board of Education eventually increased wages, prompting the teachers to end the strike. In an apparently retaliatory move, however, the school board refused to renew the contracts of fifty-one non-tenured teachers who had participated in the strike.
The various teacher strikes created a negative image for Ohio, causing non-residents to view the state and local governments, as well as teachers, as being uncaring about education and children. Because of this view, numerous businesses and people refused to relocate to Ohio.