When We Fight

What happens when 30,000 teachers go on strike?
by
Year Released
2022
Film Length(s)
34 mins
Closed captioning available Audio description available
Remote video URL

Introduction

Watch as one of the largest educator strikes in modern U.S. history unfolds in real-time, highlighting the stories and leadership of some of the women who led it, from union organizers to classroom teachers.

"This powerful and beautifully crafted film is a must watch for anyone interested in the state of labor in America today."

- Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

"An outstanding contribution, When We Fight captures one of the most important labor struggles in generations. Providing a compelling inside look into the transformative power of strikes and the hard organizing work that makes them possible, this film is sure to inspire anybody interested in unions, public education, or social justice."

- Eric Blanc, Assistant Professor, Labor Studies and Employment Relations (LSER) Rutgers University; author of Red State Revolt: The Teachers' Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics

Synopsis

In the second largest school district in the United States, 98% of teachers vote to authorize a strike. From strike vote to contract vote, When We Fight goes behind the picket lines, documenting how and why teachers strike. The film shadows L.A. teachers for five months as they organize and strike, providing a unique first-hand account of collective democracy and labor action, and shedding light on the nationwide teacher strike upswell.

Watch as one of the largest educator strikes in modern U.S. history unfolds in real-time, highlighting the stories and leadership of some of the women who led it, from union leaders to classroom teachers.

Awards and Screenings

Director Commentary

More educators have gone on strike in the last two years than have in a generation. And the majority of strikes last year were in education.

Why?

When we saw 35,000 educators in the second largest school district in the U.S. preparing for a strike, we started filming. We filmed from strike vote to contract vote, in awe of the mass participation and democratic process during the strike, from school cafeterias to rain-drenched picket lines.

Schools are one of the last public services guaranteed to everyone living in the U.S., regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. But like the country, public schools have always been rife with inequity, and likewise have always been sites of struggle. And now politicians and private companies are pushing privatization as a solution.

Over the past decade, educators from Minneapolis to Chicago to L.A. to West Virginia have engaged in a massive, democratic movement. They have transformed their unions and used their labor power (and leverage) to fight for better conditions -- they've pointed out that their working conditions are their students learning conditions, and they've crafted strategies such as 'bargaining for the common good' to unite with students and parents and improve the education systems where they live.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Audio Description
  • Closed Captioning
  • Subtitles
  • Resources for Educators

Film/Audio Languages

  • English
  • Spanish

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

Resources for Educators

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