Paul Moreno: How Public Unions Became So Powerful

The Wall Street JournalPaul Moreno: How Public Unions Became So Powerful

By 1970, nearly 20% of American workers were employed by government.


The Chicago teachers strike has put Democrats in a difficult position. Teacher unions are the most powerful constituency in the Democratic Party, but their interests are ever more clearly at odds with taxpayers and inner-city families. Chicago is reviving scenes from the last crisis of liberalism in the 1970s, when municipal unions drove many American cities to disorder and bankruptcy. Where did their power come from?

 Before the 1950s, government-employee unions were almost inconceivable. When the Boston police unionized and went on strike in 1919, the ensuing chaos—rioting and looting—crippled the public-union idea. Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge became a national hero by breaking the strike, issuing the dictum: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” President Woodrow Wilson called the strike “an intolerable crime against civilization.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt also rejected government unionism. He told the head of the Federation of Federal Employees in 1937 that collective bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service. The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer” because “the employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws.” Continue reading “Paul Moreno: How Public Unions Became So Powerful”

Dems duck labor fight in Chicago

By Bernie Becker – 09/12/12 05:00 AM ET

Congressional Democrats from Illinois are treading carefully around the teacher strike in Chicago, underscoring the political squeeze the situation has created for President Obama.

Chicago-area Democrats — including several who have relatives in the school system — refrained from taking sides in the strike on Tuesday, saying that both they and the White House should give city leaders space to hash out an agreement.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who has not been shy in criticizing Obama in the past and endorsed one of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s opponents, repeatedly told The Hill that he wanted his grandson back in the classroom as soon as possible.

“I did multiplication tables with him yesterday and we had gym and I did math. I’m sure like others, we’re struggling with the situation,” Gutierrez said. “I hope everyone sits at the bargaining table and resolves it as quickly as possible.” Continue reading “Dems duck labor fight in Chicago”

30,000 Chicago Teachers on Strike!

Brothers and Sisters-

30,000 teachers in the 3rd largest school system in the nation are ON STRIKE!  They are fighting for the schools our children deserve! 

Here’s how can you help:

1.) Call CPS and the Mayor Tell them you support the teachers’ demands and that you know this fight is about more than money. It’s about bringing smaller classes, a better–not just longer— day, and more services to our schools. The teachers are fighting for things that really matter in the classroom. Together we can win the schools our children deserve.

Call CPS CEO J.C. Brizard at 773-553-1500            

Call Mayor Emanuel at 312-744-3300

2.) Put money down for food to be sent to strike headquarters: pay for a pizza from Primo’s Pizza! Pizza’s will be sent to strike HQ! Call Gus or Daisy at Primo’s Pizza at (312) 243-1052. Primo’s is at 816 W Van Buren Street, Chicago. Open 11 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, but try not to call during lunch rush 11:45 to 1:15.

3.) Volunteer at strike headquarters in the mornings, anytime between 6 AM to 11 AM at Teamster City at 300 S. Ashland.

4.) Join the daily rally at 3 PM at Chicago Public Schools HQ at 125 S. Clark.

5.) Take a picture with a sign stating “I support Chicago’s Teachers ” and post it to Facebook!

Chicago Teacher Strike: Fighting for Students



09/10/2012; Jackie Tortora

 Photo by Sarah Jane Rhee.

At 12:01 a.m. today, for the first time in 25 years, more than 29,000 teachers and education professionals of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) were forced out on strike to gain a contract that provides students with the education they deserve.

CTU expressed disappointment in the school district’s refusal to concede on issues involving resources for students, job security and compensation—including the district’s decision to strip teachers and paraprofessionals of an agreed-upon 4 percent raise. Resources for students also are highlighted in a one-page paper excerpt of their 46-page comprehensive study, “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve,” outlining the type of school and educational environment their students should have. Its recommendations include: Continue reading “Chicago Teacher Strike: Fighting for Students”

In Standoff, Latest Sign of Unions Under Siege

New York Times

September 10, 2012

In Standoff, Latest Sign of Unions Under Siege


The high-stakes strike by 26,000 public school teachers in Chicago is only the latest episode in which the nation’s teachers’ unions have been thrown on the defensive in the face of demands for far-reaching changes.

In community after community — even in major cities with strong pro-union traditions, like Los Angeles and Philadelphia — teachers’ unions have faced a push for concessions, whether it is to scrap tenure protections or to rely heavily on student test results to determine who gets a raise and who gets fired.

And now comes this high-profile showdown in President Obama’s own hometown, a labor stronghold. Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic mayor and Mr. Obama’s former chief of staff, is demanding a raft of concessions that are anathema to union leaders and their members. At the same time, with many teachers and their unions already viewed unfavorably by many Americans, the union is taking a gamble by engaging in a battle over changes that some education advocates believe are needed to improve the nation’s schools. Continue reading “In Standoff, Latest Sign of Unions Under Siege”

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