Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicago Teacher Strike Suspended

From the Sun-Times:

The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates voted Tuesday to end its strike after seven days, meaning classes will be in session Wednesday for 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students.

“Everybody is going back to school,” said Jay Rehak, a delegate from Whitney Young High School.

Delegate Mike Bochner said “an overwhelming majority” of delegates voted to suspend the strike on a voice vote.

“I’m really excited, I’m really relieved,” said Bochner, a teacher at Cesar Chavez elementary.

At a press conference a short time after the vote, CTU President Karen Lewis said the vote was approved by a margin of “like 98 percent to 2.”

“We said that it was time, that we couldn’t solve all the problems of the world with one contract. And it was time to suspend the strike.”

She said teachers were excited to return to work.

“I am so thrilled people are going back,” she said. “... Everybody is looking forward to seeing their kids tomorrow, I can guarantee you that.”

Nevertheless, there were some “die-hard hold-outs” in favor of continuing the walk-out, Lewis said.

“We cannot get a perfect contract,” Lewis said. “There is no such thing as a contract that is going to make all of us happy.”

While the strike is over, the entire 29,000-member union still has to approve the contract.

Sad sad Rahm didn't get his injunction against CTU.

CTU members talked this contract over for two days and decided it was time to go back to work and have an up or down vote in the near future.

Democracy in action.

Sad sad Rahm hates that.

I couldn't be prouder of my fellow teachers.

They stood up to the corporate reformers, they stood up to Rahm "F---ing" Emanuel, they put the Obama education agenda on trial, they got people talking about class size and liberal arts and humanities classes and the absurdity of VAM and the damage poverty does to children.

Then they showed how democracy works by taking the extra two days to read over the contract in detail, talk about this with their colleagues and families, then call for a suspension of the strike.

The concern trolls in the corporate media hated that last part.

How dare they show how a real democratic operation works rather than operate as some top-down organization wherein the members do what the leadership wants!

But that's because the corporate media, like many of our politicians and certainly like Arne Duncan, prefer authoritarianism to democracy.

One person pushes the agenda and everybody else falls in line.

That's what corporate reform is all about.

That's what mayoral control is all about.

That's what the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation and the USDOE and the Obama administration are all about.

It's nice to see a group of people show how good old fashioned democracy can work.

Now the rest of us have a model to use.

As CTU said in a statement:

“Our brothers and sisters throughout the country have been told that corporate ‘school reform’ was unstoppable, that merit pay had to be accepted and that the public would never support us if we decided to fight. Cities everywhere have been forced to accept performance pay,” the statement said.

“Not here in Chicago. Months ago, CTU members won a strike authorization, one that our enemies thought would be impossible. Now we have stopped the board are imposing merit pay! We preserved our lanes and steps when the politicians and press predicted they were history. We held the line on healthcare costs. We have tremendous victories in this contract; however, it is by no means perfect. While we did not win on every front and will need to continue our struggle into the future, we soundly defended our profession from an aggressive and dishonest attack. We owe our victories to each and every member of this rank and rile union. Our power comes from the bottom up.”

Are you listening, Randi?

How about you, Mike?

I know you are.

Because what happened in Chicago must scare the shit out of you guys...


  1. the only thing that will scare the shit out of Randi and Mike is if a CORE-like caucus makes headway here in NYC. Everyone join MORE (only $10 while we're small), buy the tee-shirt, wear the tee-shirt(buy 2 for days its in the wash), hand out MORE leaflets in your schools and your neighboring schools, run with MORE in the UFT elections, help get petitions signed, get all the people in your school to vote the MORE caucus -- then scare the shit out Randi and Mulgrew.

  2. Do you think Weingarten was rooting for CTU to fail, Norm?

    I bet she was.

    I bet she was working both sides, talking a good game out front while backing her old pal Rahm behind the scenes.

    Didn't she just do a press conference with him during the summer and say what a great guy he was?

    I believe she did.

    As for Mulgrew, this CTU contract puts ever so slight pressure on him - when he sells us down the river on the APPR evaluation, local edition, we can point to the CTU contract as an example of a union that didn't stick it to members. (It's true that 30% of Chicago evals are tied to VAM, but that's mandated by state law - Mulgrew and Iannuzi actually beat Cuomo, Tisch, and King on the 40% VAM jive and they STILL caved back in February!)

  3. This undermines corporate ed reform and Weingarten, since we know the two go together, tremendously. It is also overall the greatest labor victory in a generation, bigger than the Pittston strike 0f 1989-90.

    Those brilliant Chicago teachers whose picket signs read, "I teach history. This week I made it," were telling a basic truth.