Ravenna, Ohio, Teachers' Strike
In the spring of 1981, teachers in Ravenna, Ohio went on strike for eighty-five days. As of 1981, it was the longest teachers’ strike in U.S. history. To date, it is the second longest. In 1987, a teacher strike in Homer, Illinois lasted for eight months.
During the 1970s and the early 1980s, a number of teacher 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 strike is the longest in Ohio. Their strike, which occurred in the spring of 1981, lasted eighty-five days. The teachers protested outside of schools, administration buildings, 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 manor in which teachers communicated their needs to the Board of Education and the State changed in 1983. In July 1983, State Bill 133 established collective bargaining in Ohio. With collective bargaining, mutual good faith negotiations could take place with the intention of reaching an agreement between the employee and the school board and school representatives. Subjects to be bargained included wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment and other existing contract issues.