Thursday, December 4, 2014

CTU HOD Meeting Dec.

CTU HOD December Meeting
By Jim Vail

Chuy Garcia addresses CTU HOD Dec. 3. Photo by Jim Vail

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis addressed her first House of Delegates meeting Wednesday December 3.

A loud resounding roar of applause met her entry and exit as she looked quite frail and half the vibrant fiery union leader who lead the first city teachers strike in over 20 years.

She introduced CTU endorsed mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia to address the delegates.

Unlike Lewis, Garcia's entry was met with a not so quite hearty round of applause. There was certainly an air of uncertainty about the Mexican legislator who touts his days of taking on the machine and working to elect Mayor Harold Washington. Garcia's choppy sentences reminded teachers that he is a Cook County Board commissioner, and far from the fiery orator and passionate leader Karen Lewis, who was ready to knock out Rahm Emanuel.

While Garcia touted his progressive credentials, such as supporting an elected school board (so did Gov. Pat Quinn), and stopping charter schools (I would double check that one!), I took note when during the question period he said "there are serious revenue problems in the future" and "nothing is off the table."

That certainly sounded like the machine candidate he is today, the floor leader for Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle. Nothing is off the table means teachers, pensioners, workers and anyone who is not making 6 figures will be hit hard. Garcia has been presiding over austerity cuts at the county board, not much different than the Board of Ed closing schools and pink slipping veteran teachers.

The CTU then once again pushed people to go out and vote. The night reminded me of the American Federation of Teachers national convention in Detroit a few years ago when it appeared the whole purpose was to support the re-election of President Barak Obama. Vice president Joe Biden attended the convention to rally union support. 

Delegates then reviewed proposals for a new teachers contract that will end this school year. 

1 comment:

  1. I've met Chuy, and he is a good guy, personally. I remember when Daley's army campaigned and defeated him for being that independent, progressive voice outside their money/corruption machine. And everyone of us hates Mayor 1%, I'm sure. Still, let's not ignore this important sign of what to expect from Chuy Garcia from the article below:

    " After that loss in 1998, Garcia stepped out of politics. He founded Enlace Chicago, a nonprofit community development organization in Little Village, and taught political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He got back on the ballot in 2010, winning a spot on the Cook County Board, where he currently serves as floor leader for president Toni Preckwinkle."

    As her floor leader, he gets the votes for the cuts in service, cuts in critical staffing, etc. He got elected as part of the machine this time, not as a progressive alternative to their austerity politics.

    Let's not get carried away with wishful thinking and kid ourselves, again. We do need an alternative, but beyond easy rhetoric, is this really the change we seek?

    in solidarity,
    Earl Silbar, Elgin