Friday, February 26, 2016

CTU Rally

CTU Rally to Prevent Layoffs
By Ed Hershey

On Thursday February 25, 2016, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and supporters rallied outside of Chicago's City Hall demanding no layoffs, no cuts to schools, and to use Tax Increment Funds (TIF) surplus to fund schools. TIFs have been used a slush funds to fund the wealthy real estate developers. Rally ended at one of many new building funded by TIFs. An estimated 50 supporters attended the rally.

60 CTU members and staff rallied at City Hall this evening, calling on the mayor to declare a TIF surplus in order to prevent layoffs and budget cuts within Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Public Schools have already been cut to the bone over the past three years, with massive school closings, layoffs, and program reductions. 

After picketing for an hour, Jesse Sharkey addressed the assembled crowd and media. He reiterated that the city has no business handing school money to wealthy private developers while they cry poor when it comes to public education. Sharkey cited a 17 million dollar apartment development in Uptown, the 55 million dollar DePaul stadium campus, and the 30 million public dollars for River Point. 

Sharkey addressed the Board's threat to cease paying the 7% "pension pick-up", which would amount to an immediate 7% pay cut. Sharkey said the union would take action -- that that would be an Unfair Labor Practice, and that the union might then strike. Amisha Patel of Grassroots Collaborative then briefly addressed the crowd.  

The group then marched to the bridge in front of River Point development -- the bridge over the junction between the North and South branches of the Chicago river.  A teacher and two CTU staffers hung a banner off the bridge, but the police would not let them attach the banner.  The marchers then continued to the River Point construction site, where the banner was stretched out.  CTU organizer Matt Luskin addressed the crowd, noting the highrise behind him built with Chicagoans' tax dollars.  

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