Aldermen almost unanimously fell in line behind the mayor, with Ald. “Proco” Joe Moreno (1st) saying the Chicago Teachers Union was “hell-bent on striking,” and Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) warning a protracted strike could send middle-class families fleeing to the suburbs.
But as the strike began, the majority of parents and students at school gates across the city seemed to be taking the teachers’ side. The huge number of motorists honking their horns as they passed picket lines suggested teachers have substantial public support — for now, at least.
“I don’t know if bullying is the word I would use, but my feeling is the mayor is not really listening,” said Jorge Bernal, the father of two students at Peirce School of International Studies in Edgewater Beach.
Fellow Peirce parent Wendi Brown waved a pro-union sign and said she would never undermine the teachers by leaving her son at school while his teacher picketed.
“I’m a Jewish girl who voted for Rahm to be mayor of this city and I am disappointed — I’m almost embarrassed to say I voted for him,” Brown said. “I agree with him on many issues but we got him there and he needs to stand with us today.”
And at the nearby Lane Tech High School, history teacher Missy Smith declared herself “surprised by all the honking.”
“It’s very humbling and very appreciated...I just hope people realize it isn’t just about us and pay,” she said.
Lane Tech History teacher Noah Ochsenhaut added, “I think hard working people relate to other hardworking people.”
CTU did the hard work of reaching out to parents and families and garner their support for this battle.
You can see that in the way they are getting the support of many of the parents.
Rahmbo has the politicians and the corporate media on his side (take a look, for example, as this hit piece James Warren wrote about Lewis and the CTU at the Daily Beast...it's full of scorn for Lewis and the teachers "bemoaning" things like a lack of air conditioning in schools that are in session over the summer.)
But the teachers have the parents.