What is an example of people in a work environment being empowered?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the strongest examples of workplace empowerment would have to be the current teachers' strike (2012) in Chicago.  In a school setting where almost half a million students receive instruction and in the nation's third largest school district, teachers felt the need to display power and go on strike again.  They felt that the collective bargaining process in which they were immersed was not being carried out in good faith and thus they decided to display empowerment by striking for what is now three days.  This is an example of people in a work environment demonstrating empowerment for a couple of reasons.  The first is that the strike shows the power of empowerment on a larger and collective scale.  All of the Chicago teachers in the Union went on strike.  They stood as one, even offering to photograph any teacher that would cross the picket line.  This shows empowerment because it displays how teachers in the Chicago Teachers' Union believe that strength comes from reliance on one another.  Another example of people in a work environment being empowered can be seen in how the teachers' stuck to their bargaining positions.  They run the risk of being portrayed as selfish and entitled by the media and others who might not be advocates for unions and collective bargaining.  Yet, they understand that this display of power is strong and something for which their fight is needed.  While teachers are not teaching, students are not learning, and while both sides are far apart in reaching settlement, it has become clear that the strike has shown the power of the teacher employees and how they view their need to use and demonstrate said power.

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