Chicago Teachers Union Strike

As many of you may know, at 5 a.m. CST, the Chicago Teacher’s Union took to the picket line. Since the last teacher’s strike in 1987, there has been a concerted effort by city government to privatize education and break CTU Local 1. Both newspapers in the city are fervently anti-union, and generating public support for a teacher’s strike is a tricky proposition even with favorable media coverage. CTU will not even be afforded that luxury in this fight, so it is vital that the labor movement act to generate a nationwide base of support for CTU. So what can we do?

1. Show solidarity. They’ve asked that we wear red today. You can also donate to their strike fund. Given that most of us are on a tight summer budget, you can send them a pizza from Primo’s Pizza (312.243.1052)! Make sure you make it clear your contribution is from GTFF 3544 in Oregon.

2. Educate yourself. This fight is our fight, as you can see from the list of outstanding issues. There is also this report from CTU, delineating exactly what CTU envisions for CPS.

The rhetoric, as always, is that this is about money and teacher greed.
Money is an easy reason to dismiss what CTU are saying, but it’s about
far more than this sort of lazy, myopic reason suggests. It’s about
creating an educational environment that is beneficial to both student
and teacher, and this environment does not currently exist in the vast
majority of Chicago Public Schools, a fact to which I can attest as a
CPS product. Rahm wants the schools to do more with less and when they
fail he closes the “underperforming” school and sets up a charter school
administrated by some faceless group of politically-connected
non-educators, just like Daley before him. The move to charter schools
is not education reform. It is a way to assure that the system of
graft, nepotism, and patronage that underpins the City of Chicago
political machine, continues to operate. When the union cried foul, the
mayor put the children in the middle and is now trying to leverage
parent anger to break CTU. It is no coincidence this come on the heels
of an attack on public sector unions in Wisconsin. We all have a dog in
this fight.