Labor Relations in Education: An International Perspective

Labor Relations in Education: An International Perspective

Labor Relations in Education: An International Perspective

Labor Relations in Education: An International Perspective


This is the first comparative study of the background, development, laws, structure, and impact of teacher unionism in fifteen nations around the world. This ground-breaking analysis provides an international perspective on teaching the world's most populous profession--the forming of unions, collective bargaining, current policies and problems, and future possible reforms. This unique study describes the role of unions in national affairs and the various relationships between governments and the labor movement.


Charles T. Kerchner

Bruce S. Cooper and the contributors to this book have done a service to all those who want to understand labor relations better. They have provided, quite literally, a world view through which we can observe the great variety of organizations teachers have used in their quest for dignity and protection.

Creating a transnational work such as this is no small undertaking. Most of the contributors needed to write to an audience who would read their words in a different culture and a different tongue from their own. For Cooper, who contacted the chapter authors, responded to their queries, and edited each contribution, production of this book has been a five-year-long task, for which he deserves more than this small recognition.

The product of this research provides a way to escape the blinders of our own time and place. the variations in culture, politics, and history evident in these chapters become, in Barbara Tuchman's words, a distant mirror in which we see our own image. and so it is with teacher unions. the sense of this book depends on the peculiar vantage point of each reader. For those schooled in U.S.-style collective bargaining, the international contrasts are particularly striking because our construction of unionism is relatively unusual.

Compared to their international counterparts, teacher unions in the United states are young and peripheral. Like the American Federation of Teachers in the United States, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Great Britain has historic connection to craft unionism, but the NUT's history of active teacher representation was well underway in the nineteenth century. Two-thirds of teachers were union represented by 1900. An effective 1907 strike solidified its influence and relationship with the then-emerging Labour party. Similarly, the histories of teacher unionism in France and Australia reveal a much longer . . .

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