December 2011 Issue
November 23, 2011

Book offers insight into state's longest teacher strike

Author: Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT United

Educator Thomas Kavunedus made history back in 1977. Now, with the publication of Struggle for Power, a personal account of his experiences as negotiation team leader during the 1977 Lakeland School District teacher strike, New York state's longest, the Lakeland Federation of Teachers retiree has preserved his remembrances for future generations. Kavunedus co-wrote the book with Leon Bock, Lakeland's associate superintendent and chief negotiator during the strike.

"The book is actually two accounts of events leading up to the strike," Kavunedus explained — the union perspective and the district perspective. "We put our heads together early in the 1990s and decided to write the book since we were both aware of what was happening on the different sides."

Although Kavunedus considers the strike initially a loss, he terms it a long-term win. "We were able to put together a string of solid contracts for the next years and it brought a lot of harmony to the district," he said.

Today, many of the strike leaders have died. "This book is a memorial to them," said Kavunedus. "I wanted to make sure these stories were told."

For copies, visit