Rochester, N.Y. - Teachers at Rochester's School 42 posed for a picture, all wearing red to show support for striking teachers in Chicago. The Chicago walkout is now in its third day.
Aimee Rinere said teachers here are showing solidarity and a united front: "We support Chicago teachers, working conditions there are working conditions here."
Rinere has been teaching for 26 years. She wasn't here when Rochester teachers walked off the job in 1980. The 1980 walkout lasted 11 days.
The difference here, it is illegal in New York State (under the Taylor Law) for public employees to go on strike.
Teachers who picketed here risked losing their jobs, and lost two days pay for each day they were on strike.
RTA President Adam Urbanski was among the striking teachers. He had been teaching social studies for 11 years when the strike happened.
Urbanski then campaigned to head the teacher's union, promising if he won that teachers would never again walk off the job.
Urbanski said no one wins in a strike, and everything should be done to avoid a walkout. But he said if teachers here faced what teachers in Chicago are dealing with, there could be another strike.
One of the biggest issues in that Chicago strike is the teacher evaluation system, which weighs heavily on state testing -not unlike New York's evaluation plan for teachers.
The difference, Urbanski said, is that individual districts can come up with their own plans and submit them for state approval.
But Monroe County School Boards President Jody Siegle said the evaluation process here is also controversial and puts districts under pressure to get things done to meet state approval.
She said while we would not likely see teachers walk out over this, it is something that is a concern.
Siegle said strikes are a loss for all involved. But most importantly, she said, is the loss of trust between teachers and the district and students and their teachers.
She said it can take months after a strike ends to rebuild that trust.