On Saturday, September 15, 2012, a contingent of striking Palermo workers traveled to Chicago, to march in solidarity with striking educators in the third largest public school system in the country.
“As workers who are also fighting for a greater voice on the job, we know how difficult this decision must have been for CTU to make,” said Raul de la Torre.
Before boarding buses filled with Milwaukee educators and other pro-union allies, striking Palermo’s workers explained to local media why they were going to Chicago. Continue reading “Palermo Workers Stand with Chicago Teachers”
(Sitthixay Ditthavong/ Associated Press ) – Teachers from Wisconsin and Minnesota join striking Chicago teachers during a rally Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Chicago. Union president Karen Lewis reminded the crowd that although there is a “framework” for an end to their strike, they still are on strike.
By Associated Press, Published: September 14 | Updated: Saturday, September 15, 4:36 PM
CHICAGO — Thousands of striking Chicago public school teachers and their allies packed a city park Saturday in a boisterous show of force as union leaders and the district tried to work out the details of an agreement that could end a week-long walkout.
Pushing strollers, toting signs and towing wagons of children, thousands of red-shirted teachers cheered and chanted as speaker after speaker urged them to stand firm until they have a deal in writing. They told the teachers that their strike was a symbol of hope for public teachers and other unions that have been losing ground around the nation.
“I’m pretty confident that something will come together that both sides will agree on,” said Ramses James, a sixth-grade math teacher. “I believe this is a very strong turning point when you have so many people coming out to fight alongside (the teachers union). That means a lot.”
Unions are under attack in the United States—not only from people like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, but now, with the teachers strike in Chicago, from the very core of President Barack Obama’s inner circle, his former chief of staff and current mayor of that city, Rahm Emanuel. Twenty-five thousand teachers and support staff are on strike there, shutting down the public school system in the nation’s third-largest school district. This fight now raging in Chicago, Obama’s hometown, has its roots in this historic stronghold of organized labor, and in the movement started one year ago this week, Occupy Wall Street. The conflict presents a difficult moment for Obama, who will need union support to prevail in his race with Mitt Romney, but who is inextricably linked, politically, to his brash, expletive-spewing former aide, Mayor Rahm-ney Emanuel.Rahm Emanuel in 2009, when he was President Obama’s chief of staff. (White House/Pete Souza)
At the heart of the conflict is how schools will be run in Chicago: locally, from the grass roots, with teacher and parent control, or top-down, by a school board appointed by Emanuel. Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, worked as a board-certified chemistry teacher at King College Prep High School in Chicago. She understands how the system works. Months before the strike, I asked her about the situation in Chicago. The newly elected Emanuel had an appointed board comprised mostly of corporate executives, the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Lewis told me, “One of the biggest problems is that when you have a CEO in charge of a school system, as opposed to a superintendent, a real educator, what ends up happening is that they literally have no clue as to how to run the schools.” The AUSL not only relies on business executives with no education experience to run schools, but also brings in recent college graduates to teach. These recruits cost very little to pay, but arrive with little or no teaching experience. Continue reading “Mayor Rahm-Ney’s Attack on the Chicago Teachers Union”
Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:50am IST
* Deal could end strike in time to resume school on Monday
* Union group to meet Sunday to vote whether to suspend strike
* Emanuel forced to retreat on sweeping school reforms
By Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune
CHICAGO, Sept 14 (Reuters) – A week-long confrontation between Chicago public school teachers and Mayor Rahm Emanuel moved toward resolution on Friday as the two sides reached a tentative agreement that could end a five-day strike and clear the way for classes to resume on Monday in the third-largest U.S. school district.
More than 350,000 Chicago students have been out of school since the beginning of the week after some 29,000 Chicago teachers and support staff walked off the job over Emanuel’s education reforms.
Negotiators announced that they had reached an agreement in principle on all issues. Talks were set to continue through the weekend to put the tentative accord into legal language so core teachers union activists could see it on Sunday, they said. Continue reading “UPDATE 4-Chicago mayor, teachers move to end strike”
While contract talks between the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the city continue today, the 29,000 teachers and education professionals who were forced out on strike to gain a contract that provides students with the education they deserve were on the picket lines early this morning and then gathered for three large rallies across the Windy City.
Chicago teachers want smaller class sizes, investments in neighborhood schools and additional services for students. Chicago students deserve—and parents want—smaller class sizes to foster improved teaching and learning. And Chicago teachers are calling for investments in health care, social workers, additional meal services and other programs to ensure that children receive the support they need to succeed in the classroom.
AFT President Randi Weingarten says what Chicago teachers “want more than anything are the tools and conditions to do their jobs and help all students succeed.” This morning, in a column in USA Today, she writes: Continue reading “Chicago Teachers Standing Strong for Better Schools, Improved Student Services”