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Teacher’s Strike

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Film Identifier: F.2004-02-0086
Run Time
0h 15m 58s
Date Produced
Documentary of a 1976 strike by the Niles Township teachers. This strike ended in 267 union teachers being fired only to have the firings canceled. Numerous audio clips are provided as voice over, many from teachers giving their opinions and feelings of the strike. Includes footage of the picketing teachers, as well as students organizing in solidarity. Still shots of newspapers document the way the strike was publicly recorded.
00:08 - Music begins playing over a blank screen as the words “Teachers’ Strike” zoom diagonally into frame. 00:18 - FADE to a newspaper page of the Nilehilite accouncing that the Niles Township Federation of Teachers declare strike. Var, opinions are voiced over footage of striking teachers. Var. MS views of strikers wearing signs and milling calmly outside a building. Shots of letters addressing the picketers. 01:12 - FADE to a blank screen as a female narrator (using the pronoun “us”), speaks about the pressure put on the teachers and the Board’s continual delay of bargaining sessions. She then speaks about the administration preparing to open the schools with replacement teachers and effectively destroying the union. 1:38 - FADE to more footage of picketing teachers, now including var. LS views. Small child smiling and holding a sign reading “Honest Bargaining”. ZOOM IN on var. still photos of striking teachers. 2:37 - Man arrives with a truck and begins cooking food outside at a small table. Var. scenes of teachers eating outside as voice overs document people’s opinions about the strike. More still shots of newspapers and footage of a flickering television screen. Narration and newspapers begin to convey the idea that the union teachers will soon be dismissed. 04:01 - Blank screen with narration about personal strength and honest leadership in the strike organization. 04:19 - Stills and PAN of more newspapers, including a want ad for teachers in Niles Township. The voice over addresses the fact that the administration controls the fate of the teachers. Var. MS and LS of striking teachers juxtaposed with men in suits. 05:02 - Long sequence showing only a television screen, flickering. It is difficult to discern what is playing but it is mostly the picketing teachers and men speaking. At one point the audio syncs up with the television. People are getting more upset. 05:50 - ZOOM OUT on a still photo of two men standing by police officers. One officer has a dog. Var. still photos of police dogs as voice overs recount how heightened security and the presence of the dogs made them relalize they weren’t trusted. 06:27 - Over a blank screen the narrator says that the board fired all the striking teachers, reading off their names and crossing them off a list one by one. 06:48 - FADE to the Morton Grove Champion with the headline “Board fires teachers.” Shots of the Chicago Sun Times and Daily News follow. TILT down to an ironic photo of a suprised girl with the caption “school can be fun...” 07:13 - Var. LS and MS of students returning to school. Footage is intercut with a CU of a school bus passing in a blur and then driving off down the street. PAN of a crowd of people standing by the street. Voice overs give reaction to the dismissal of the teachers, followed by a MS of students on the lawn and a student with a bullhorn. 08:24 - FADE to blank screen as narrator recounts the actions of concerned students who held rallies and joined the picket line in the wake of the dismissal. 08:41 - Var. shots of students gathered in large groups, a LS giving scope to their size. CU of var. shirts and signs, expressing opinions against the Board. ZOOM IN on a television set as a teacher’s voice over recounts her feelings at moment they were fired. 09:56 - CU of Chicago Daily News announcing that the teacher firings are off. 10:08 - Var.CU, MS and ECU a group of people outside a building, hugging and looking happy while drinking coffee and smoking. Camera is occasionally shaky, with shots going out of focus at time but shoots often from among the teachers, giving the viewer a feeling of being there. Ode to Joy plays. Near the end of this sequence the number 267 begins to be chanted. 14:54-15:06 - Flickering CU of television screen with two unidentified men raising their fists in victory. Freeze and FADE OUT.
Main Credit
Pietz, May (is director)
Pietz, May (is producer)
Behrend, Jack (is producer)
Behrend, Jack (is director)
Additional Credit
Behrend, Jack (is cinematographer)
Behrend, Jack (is editor)
Pietz, May (is editor)
Related Place
Niles (production location of)