Teachers, the New York City Fiscal Crisis, and Austerity
This chapter documents the New York City fiscal crisis of 1975. The city’s drastic position had been caused by its robust promise of social welfare state coupled with national economic downturn and deindustrialization. Free market ideologues who opposed social democracy, however, blamed teacher unions and recipients of “welfare” (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). Many middle- and working-class whites in New York City joined in popularizing this explanation, and by the time the federal government bailed out the city in late 1975, the “commonsense” narrative was that the city’s “unproductive” citizens had caused the crisis. The most dramatic confrontation over the city’s path toward austerity occurred when President Albert Shanker led a United Federation of Teachers strike in September 1975.
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