From the archives: San Diego Unified School District teachers went on strike 45 years ago

In June 1977, thousands of San Diego teachers quit their jobs in the city’s first major teacher association strike. The four-day strike slowed schools across the city from June 6-9.

In the end, San Diego’s 5,790 teachers won a 5.5% pay raise following the 1977 strike, along with better medical benefits.

School teachers in the city of San Diego had staged a one-day slowdown in 1972. A four-day teachers’ strike in the Ramona Unified School District from January 18–22, 1977 ended in a agreement on a salary increase of 6%.

From the San Diego Union, Tuesday, June 7, 1977:

The city’s teachers will ignore the order to end the strike; Hearing today

Decision of 2,000 cheers to continue the walkout

By Ray Kipp, Editor, The San Diego Union

A decision to ignore a court order to end the strike against 165 city schools won overwhelming support at a rally of more than 2,000 striking teachers yesterday.

Hugh Boyle, president of the San Diego Teachers Association, said at a late afternoon mass rally in Balboa Park that the SDTA board voted unanimously to continue the strike despite a temporary restraining order issued by the Superior Court just four hours earlier.

The majority of teachers who quit their jobs in the city’s first major teacher strike yesterday drowned out Boyle’s announcement with a one-minute standing ovation.

Boyle predicted today’s strike turnout would be even higher than the 57.5 percent of the 5,310 teachers the district reported yesterday. The STDA claimed 65 percent.

Almost immediately Supt. Tom Goodman called the decision to ignore the court order regrettable and misguided.

“I hope that the general members (the 3,600 members of the SDTA, who represent all teachers in the district at the bargaining table, will comply with the court order and get back to work,” Goodman said.

RISK OF OVERSIGHT

He said SDTA leaders risked contempt of court for encouraging teachers to ignore ruling until after hearing on district’s request for injunction against strike . This hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today in Superior Court.

Although all teachers are considered parties to the order and legally required to return to their classrooms today, Goodman said it’s typical that only union leaders face sanctions for breaches of these orders.

Boyle said the SDTA board, which called the strike, voted unanimously to pursue it because the order gave only one side of the teacher-district dispute. SDTA’s lawyers were not present at yesterday’s hearing.

However, Boyle said the SDTA will reevaluate its position after today’s hearing on the injunction motion where attorneys for both sides will present their cases.

ANOTHER RALLY

“We will both have our day in court today. Then we’ll decide what to do,” Boyle said, after telling teachers there would be another rally at the Balboa Park Organ Pavilion at 5 p.m. today.

Goodman and Boyle claimed moderate wins yesterday.

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