The strike was a watershed moment in the history of the TA. As a fledging teacher in his mid-twenties, who was the Taukomas (now a BOCES school) building rep., I was an ideologue who aspired to elevate our profession to the level of dignity and respect that we teachers deserved. So, for me, the strike was filled with a sense of excitement and determination, and I was willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
My memories are filled with the daily picketing at my home school where a camaraderie grew among colleagues. Many parents, who kept their kids home, joined and supported us on the picket line. There were the scabs who crossed the picket line and aroused the wrath of some of the most angelic, if not prudish, teachers. Each day, the entire membership would converge in the ballroom of a local hotel for a “pep rally” to plan the next day’s strategies and energize our morale. Our president, Carol Roseman, a Taukomas colleague, was a savvy, outspoken, dynamic leader alla NYC’s Bella Abzug (Google the name). She inspired us.
Our quest for a fair contract reached beyond raises. In a time of plummeting enrollment, we achieved a masterful job security clause, which to this day stands as perhaps the only one in a Long Island school district. I am proud to say that I was part of the cause.