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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 08, 2013, 05:07 PM

60 on 6: A look back at the Moorhead Teacher Strike of 1984

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- As WDAY celebrates its 60th Anniversary this summer, we continue our look back at news stories that impacted our community.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- As WDAY celebrates its 60th Anniversary this summer, we continue our look back at news stories that impacted our community.

Tonight, the Moorhead Teacher Strike of 1984. It would last more than 2 weeks, and split the city, even families.

It would be the dead of winter, a cold sub zero morning that 350 teachers went out on strike. The winter of 1984. 5,500 students throughout the elementary, high school and tech school stayed home.

The strike would go on for 16 days. A historic teacher walk out never again seen in our area.

"I think it is bad. The teachers should not go on strike They should keep going."

The issue, salary and benefits. At one point, in order to get schools up and running during the strike, substitute teachers were brought in, angering striking teachers.

All over town. At times during the strike, students joined teachers. This husband and wife teacher team brought their children.

Community pressure to resolve the strike was intense. Thousands of people in Moorhead petitioned both sides to settle, for the sake of the students and the well being of the city.

It was a divisive walk out. Tempers often flared, and it would take months, years for healing between the two sides. It would be in mid February. That the two sides would finally come together.

A mediator driven agreement achieved on an early winter morning. Finally, the 16 day strike was over.

Next Monday night on "60 on Six": The survival story of a North Dakota teen, who nearly froze to death in a blizzard in 1989, near Rock Lake. Despite his injuries, he is doing incredible work today.

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