Friday, April 29, 2016

Millionaires Tax Goes Down

Millionaire’s Tax Goes Down in Flames in State House
By Jim Vail
Special to

The heart of the Chicago Teachers Union fight with the city is over funding.

The CTU argues that the city is “Broke on Purpose” because it refuses to make the bankers and businesses pay. Instead, the mayor wants to make the people pay via cutting teacher salaries, closing schools and eliminating educational programs.

So the teachers went out on a one-day strike April 1st to focus part of the fight in in Springfield to galvanize state lawmakers to enact progressive tax revenue that would make the rich pay more.

That strategy suffered a major defeat last week when a proposed constitutional amendment to levy an additional tax on incomes over $1 million came up three votes short of passing the Illinois House, according to

The CTU endorsed House Speaker Michael Madigan in his last election and have given him thousands of dollars in political donations.

So it was the powerful speaker who proposed to add a 3 percent surcharge on income over $1 million, which would have raised some $1 billion for schools each year.
Madigan blamed the defeat on the Republicans.

“For the second time in less than a year, Republican legislators have rejected the wishes of their constituents and opposed a measure requiring the top 1 percent to pay more to help boost education funding in Illinois,” read a statement from Madigan posted on the Progressillinois website.

The “millionaire’s tax” suffered the same defeat last year by almost a similar vote count.

Most Americans favor a tax on the rich that would raise significant revenue.
“Right now, the wealthy pay too little,” Hillary Clinton said during a debate, according to the NY Times. “And the middle class pays too much.”

There are cities in the US that have passed a tax on the rich that have helped raise the money to pay for education.

The Republicans have always voted against taxing the rich.

The argument against taxing the rich is that rich people will leave Illinois. This is the same argument given for corporate tax breaks or public-subsidized stadiums that are privately owned – if you don’t give me tax-payer money, I’ll leave.

It’s called blackmail, and unfortunately, politicians who are financed by the rich succumb to it.

It’s hard to fathom that back in the 1950s the wealthy were taxed at a 90% rate. And the country was the strongest economy in the world.

Madigan did increase state taxes on corporations, and of course, they threatened to leave the state. Republican governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin openly courted them to his “right to work” state which eliminated collective bargaining for unions and hit the middle class hard.

But there was no mass exodus of corporations leaving Illinois.

The CTU also proposed a penny tax on stock trades that could raise several billion dollars. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the Chicago Board of Trade would simply leave the city. But New York has a similar tax that raises billions of dollars, and no traders have left the financial center as a result.

One of the greatest problems in this country is that the income gap between the rich and poor is growing at an alarming rate, and the middle class is vanishing.

The CTU is also proposing a progressive tax in which the rich would pay more and the poor would pay less. Currently, Illinois is one of only seven states that has a flat tax in which everyone pays the same rate, a bigger burden on low-income workers.

The school strike action was only one-day. A looming long teachers strike possibly this fall will highlight the battle between who pays the state’s and city’s overdue bills – the rich or the rest of us.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

LaRaviere Fired?

CPS Sacks Popular Principal and Emanuel Critic
By Jim Vail
Special to

Principal Troy LaRaviere could and should be the city's next mayor!

There is a power struggle in the city of Chicago, and it exploded this past week when word got out that a popular principal who was one of the biggest critics of the mayor was fired by the Chicago Public Schools for insubordination.

Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere has been a fierce critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, pointing out the city’s corrupt and wasteful spending that hurts the schools. He was issued a warning resolution by the Chicago Board of Education to basically shut up.

LaRaviere not only did not keep his mouth shut, he elevated it. He appeared in commercials for democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who said thank God he did not receive Emanuel’s endorsement and he campaigned for Chuy Garcia in the last election for mayor.

Since the heady days of the battle between Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis and the mayor, no other high-profile personality has so forcefully challenged the mayor.

So when the charges were spilled to the press the other day that accused LaRaviere of dozens of allegations of misconduct that included a “dereliction of duty, violations of state and CPS ethical policies and insubordination,” it was obvious that the charges were trumped up to remove a viable opponent to the mayor.

Many are hoping that LaRaviere will run for mayor and his political acumen has shown he is a formidable candidate tied to a populist platform that could derail the oligarchic stranglehold on the city’s highest political office.

According to, the violations included disregarding teachers’ assessment guidelines, misusing district equipment and breaking rules governing how schools manage internal accounting.

“It was so obvious when they read out the charges that this was all made up just to get him,” said one assistant principal who wished to remain anonymous. “When it comes to things like mishandling funds or not filling in the correct paperwork, it is easy to find mistakes on anyone.”

CPS has told the media that the mayor was not involved in the decision.

However, the mayor’s credibility is at all-time low with the public.

“It was reminiscent of when Emanuel told us last November that he hadn’t seen the dashcam video of a police officer gunning down Laquan McDonald until it was released to the public – even though a city lawyer who negotiated a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family in April had described the images as deeply troubling,” wrote the Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn.

Zorn goes on to ridicule CPS’s claim that the mayor was not involved in sacking one of his harshest critics.

“So I guess Emanuel found out about it just like everyone else: What? No way! Really?”

CPS said he was ignoring CPS directives, such as when he openly criticized the PARCC test, where many students across the country have opted out of, the media reported.

CPS said LaRaviere is still eligible to run for president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, while the current president said last week the principals’ board will vote before this month’s election on whether LaRaviere is eligible for the office, Dnainfo reported.

Many believe the mayor did not want LaRaviere to become the principal association’s president because it would give him even more clout.

However, should he be eligible to run, he is not guaranteed to win.

The principals are under the gun, and constantly told and threatened to not say anything that is critical of the board of education.

“I don’t know if I would support him being the president of the principal’s association,” said the assistant principal. “I agree with what’s he’s doing, but you know, CPS has informers at all their meetings, and they take notes on who goes to the meetings and what is said.”

Of course, this is exactly why LaRaviere is so immensely popular.

He does not bow to fear, and his criticisms of the mayor and the schools seem spot on. He said he agrees with the Chicago Teachers Union that the city has a revenue problem, an allegation that directly indicts the corporate class who funded the mayor’s election.

LaRaviere will have a pre-suspension hearing on Friday that will be closed to the public, local media stated, and a state-appointed investigator will determine if he can be suspended without pay before a dismissal hearing, where he is allowed to bring witnesses and evidence to refute the charges.

Teachers were once subject to unpaid suspensions as a form of discipline before the current expired contract made it obsolete.

The principals, unlike the teachers, do not have union protections and are at the whim of what their boss determines.

Even though they must be eligible to run and be voted in by the school’s local council, CPS can and will remove principals they find fault with.  

LaRaviere is among six CPS principals removed this year, Dnainfo.

CPS made it quite clear. Despite a critically-thinking school leader who heads an award-winning grammar school and has a faithful following among his people, there is no room for such a leader in a system that is focused on “following the rules.”

LaRaviere is currently not speaking to the press. He wrote on his blog that he will talk after he prepares his case with his lawyer.

“My message is that we need to stay focused on the corrupt fiscal management and incompetent education policy of our district and our city,” he wrote on April 22. “That’s what I’ve tried to highlight. This is not about me. This is about corruption, and I am an obstacle to that corruption. At some point I’m hoping all of us will be obstacles to it.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Will the Chicago Teachers Union Strike?
By Jim Vail
Special to

The Chicago Teachers Union has rejected the fact-finder’s report that agreed with the Chicago Public Schools argument about funding limitations and is free to go on strike next month.

The question then for Chicago parents is, will the strike happen May 16th and what will it mean for their children.

First of all, there is no declared strike yet. This is currently what is called the “cooling off” period of the negotiations process where both sides will continue to negotiate, and should there be no agreement, the CTU will then have to issue a 10-day strike notice.

There will most likely not be a strike next month for the following reasons. First, it is the end of the year when there is graduation for high school, middle school and kindergarten students, so it would really make a mess (although some of my teaching colleagues said isn’t that the point of a strike?).

You will need the teachers to fully support the timing of the strike, and it appears they would not support this, although the union leadership said they will canvass the schools to get a better reading on how teachers feel about this.

Another area of concern for CTU members is that the end of the year is a tough time to strike when the school year is practically over (officially the last day for teachers is June 21). There would be questions about how to make up the missed days and then CPS can cancel the remaining school year, and blame that on the teachers.

So, if you’re a CPS parent, think the fall. That is when most likely a teachers strike will happen.

There are three basic criteria that the CTU is looking for in this contract that was emailed to CTU members (I am a current CTU member):

1. Create enforceable class-size limits so the number of students don’t increase in the classrooms via layoffs and attrition,
2. Be ‘economically’ reasonable so that the standard of living is not lower by the end of a multi-year contract than at the beginning,
3. Close loopholes to ensure a charter-school moratorium, and an end to school closings, enact progressive revenue solutions and a pension levy.

The real power lies with the president of the CTU and the mayor of Chicago. They ultimately will agree or not on a new contract.

CTU President Karen Lewis said she liked the first tentative contract offer until her bargaining team rejected it.

Lewis now is telling the media they just need to “tweak” the language so there is a real offer on the table.

It would appear that if President Lewis is working closely with CPS to make this happen, a strike will be avoided.

However, there is no guarantee.

The last major teachers’ strike was in 2012 and there was no school for seven days.
Past strikes lasted much longer. And this one, should it happen, shows that an entrenched battle could potentially mean not one week, but several weeks of teachers walking picket lines and classes cancelled.

So there are still a lot of questions, and still some time before any decision regarding a strike is made.

This is not 2012. There is no personality battle between Karen Lewis and Rahm Emanuel.

But the stakes are even higher. There is a serious problem with revenue that the city appears not to be interested in fixing – such as suing the banks for toxic loans that have sapped millions from the city, enacting a stock transaction tax such as one in New York that would generate a few billion dollars, eliminating the Tax Increment Financing slush fund for the mayor and putting the tax monies back into the schools.
The state legislature already has a progressive revenue bill waiting approval in the house in which the rich would pay more while the poor would pay less, and generate a lot more income for the schools.

The current contract offer included a phase-out of the district’s 7% teacher pension pick-up and an increase to health care costs. The latest offer would gradually make up the 7% cut via incremental raises in each of the four years of the new tentative contract.

“We’re going to try to tweak this a little bit better,” Lewis told reporters at a Monday press conference. “They still have an opportunity to come up with something that is addressing the issues that we have.”

The district’s budget this year relied on nearly a half-billion dollars in funding from Springfield that never came through. So money is tight and CPS continues to borrow at exorbitant rates that further enriches the bankers at the schools’ expense. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

CTU Strike?

Will the Chicago Teachers Union Go on Strike?
By Jim Vail

It's almost like the mayor doesn't matter any more when it comes to negotiating a new teachers contract.

Will the Chicago Teachers Union leadership lead its members on a second major (three counting the one-day) strike following its 2012 strike?

This is a very good question.

I predicted this past summer in that there would not be another major teachers union strike.


My reasoning was the mayor wanted to make a deal quick because of his fallen position.

It appears, however, that no matter how harmful taking drugs can be, addicts still need to find a fix even when death stares them in the face.

In the case of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, he still has to serve the corporate interests, even when those interests have him labeled one of the most hated politicians in the country these days.

So scratch that theory.

Now let's go over to the union leadership and what they're thinking.

What they're thinking is the same - avoid a strike. CTU President Karen Lewis said she liked the tentative contract proposal so much that she sent it to the bargaining team who then promptly rejected it.

But it's Lewis who ultimately calls the shots.

The CTU leadership will decide whether or not a strike is in the cards. 

And my prediction again is the same, albeit putting the responsibility (blame?) this time on the union leadership.

Why will CTU not go on strike?

They will finagle a last-minute deal with the city because they are playing very closely with the democratic party. This time they have aligned with House Speaker Mike Madigan to fight a proxy war with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Some, including myself, suspected that the one-day strike April 1st was a statement that teachers did go on a strike of sorts should the 'real' strike not happen after negotiations fail. 

There is no organized opposition in the union to fight the union on whatever decision it makes.

But that's me speculating.

And I don't gamble. I don't make predictions. 

In this case, I hope I'm wrong. A real fight for education funding and against privatization of public education is via a work stoppage. It has to be a fight that hits, not pretends to hit.

Once again Lewis and the leadership say they are very close to a deal. A few house bills for progressive funding, tighten the loopholes on no more school closings or opening of new charter schools (which should be easy since CTU endorsed Madigan controls that) and contract language that once again states more teacher autonomy and less paper work (which must be enforced by teachers of course), and wala! We got ourselves a contract.

The real business is still done behind closed doors. This union operates in some ways like the old one - work with the democrats and at times keep members in the dark.

The last vote in the house of delegates to support a one-day strike April 1st said it all - President Lewis can sell the contract no matter how much they do protest. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Russian Teachers Win!

By Stephen Wilson

Finally Russian teachers can boast of strike win to pay salaries!

(Moscow, Russia) -- Wage arrears are paid to Russian teachers in two rural schools.

              After waging a relentless campaign involving letters, petitions and threatening strikes, the local Ministry of Education and Science of the Volgogradskoi region paid the debts owed to teachers at two schools in the town of Oktyabrski. The two schools had not received their salaries for two months exhausting the patience of teachers.

              The teachers had sent an indignant letter threatening to embark on a strike should their salaries not be paid. The teachers explained that:

             'On the 30th of March, the collective of teachers and workers sent a declaration to the procurator's on the 29th of March, stating that if we were not informed, orally, what their answer iswe will inform the school headmasters of schools about the suspension of work from the 4th of April until we are paid.'

              The local government agreed to pay the teachers. The teachers and supporters beamed at their victory. Dmitr
Savelov of claimed that 90,000 who signed a petition in support of the teachers must have helped them. It certainly indicates that many people care and want to show their active support for teachers.

              The predicament of the teachers was generated by
local officials informing the teachers that they could not pay the teachers because they needed to pay for gas.

              A representaive of the teachers had retorted: ' Gas, this is good, but we don't want it to be paid out of our own poor pockets. What can we do now if we are left with only 300 rubles?' They went on to state: 'Fifteen or twenty years
ago teachers were not paid for months. Somebody may say,
we need to put up with it and that officials are also people. But we don't understand why we must sit without money for the mistakes of those who don't have problems with their salaries. 

              Pay the teachers from the village of Oktyabrski their owed salaries! Don't let it come to cancelling lessons, acts of protest and going to court.'

              The plight of those teachers is hardly an isolated case. The number of teacher protests, petitions and strikes has been rising as threatened redundancies, wage arrears and austerity is being forced by a government which can no longer balance the books. Whereas in the 1990's, teachers
would endure arrears for over three months, at present the limits of patience amounts to two or three months. Peter Biziukov an expert at the centre of Social and Labour Rights who has properly researched changing trends in industrial strife notes: 'The movement is changing form. In the past,
the protests were very isolated. But last year we recorded a number of inter-regional actions. The most notable such action was the protests of long-distance haulers. According to our data, 45 regions were hit by it. In May 2015, there were the teachers' strikes in 20 regions ... whereas before
they were involved at most in 9 regions. Now, the number of simulatenously protesting regions is growing.'

              Despite some victories, the future perspectives of Russian teachers looks daunting. The Ministry of Finance anticipates real wages to fall by 13% this year and won't recover to the level of 2014 until the year 2025.

              A recent claim by the Ministry of Education that the average salary of a Moscow school teacher has risen to 100,000 rubles a month, or according to Interfax, rose to 74,000 from 39,000 in 2010 seems absurd. The doubling of many food items and utility bills makes a mockery of those empty boasts.

              Although the prestige and popularity of teaching at schools has undoubtedly risen, (practically all the vacancies for teachers at schools in Moscow are occupied and young teachers can't get jobs there or must wait), job security, salaries and decent conditions remain fragile. We can anticipate more protests, petitions and strikes throughout Russia in the coming years.

Friday, April 15, 2016

CTU Cancels Elections

CTU Cancels Elections - Karen Wins Again!
By Jim Vail

The delegates agreed with the Chicago Teachers Union leadership to cancel the next union elections because there is no opposition running and they would save $300,000.

The debate was a no-brainer and the delegates voted unanimously to endorse the motion and thus Congrats to Karen & Co. - the CTU leadership team continues.

Karen Lewis is still president, Jesse Sharkey is vice president, and Michael Brunson is recording secretary. The one change is Maria Moreno is the new financial secretary.

The one question I as my school's delegate had, really more a point of information, was how would it look to cancel elections. The idea always wrangles people.

Of course, what are elections?

In the case of the CTU, it would appear that the leadership is doing such a wonderful job that there is no need for a change.

I would say not so simple.

Of course the corporate media tried to use the fact that 126 delegates broke ranks with the leadership to vote against the April 1 strike, concluding that these delegates disagree with the leadership and the union could be divided.

The union is not divided. The fact that only 126 delegates voted against the one-day strike was actually evidence that the delegates support their leaders because the arguments made in the house were actually very persuasive to vote against the action. Over 450 delegates voted in favor of the one-day strike.

Lewis is a popular leader and the teachers like her.

Not everyone, of course.

But any healthy democracy should have opposing forces. There should be other parties competing against each other to lead.

But having contested elections does not automatically mean good things for the people. 

To field a party to challenge the current leadership one would need petitions with lots of signatures. One would need to fill a slate that would openly challenge the leadership with over 150 names.

Not easy!

I look back to when Core first won the election against the entrenched UPC party and that was because the UPC was divided and five parties contested to lead the union.


Many smelled blood. They were either ousted - Ted Dallas was formerly UPC's vice president before the president Marilyn Stewart fired him, and he formed a party, others were opportunists and former employees who smelled blood - Ted Hajiharis, and then there were two true parties who worked hard to forge a better union - Core and Pact and Debbie Lynch.

Core was able to attract many former Pact members by doing more to fight the corrupt former leadership and do union duties that were not being done, like actively fight the school closings and speak out at school board meetings.

So just to run a party in an election and thus have an election is not enough.

There should be a legitimacy. If the teachers no longer believe in the leadership team, then plans will be made to field another party and openly challenge it.

Having an elected school board is no guarantee that life will be better. 

When asked about the elected school board, Blaine Principal and activist Troy LaRaviere said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with whom he has battled continuously, was elected.

So elections are one thing.

Who runs is important. Is it a real choice, or a rubber stamp as they say.

Or is it a mark that people love their leaders?  Or a real choice for change?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Russian Teacher Woes

By Stephen Wilson

Russian teachers are being asked to do more with less. Sound familiar?

(Moscow, Russia) -- 'Serfs you are, and serfs you shall remain'.

                King Richard's speech after breaking his promise to free the peasants from oppression.

                It was hopeless trying to contact this teacher. Her  phone always answered:

                'Not available', or you just heard  an incessant drone. What had happened?

                Had she suffered an accident? May be she been mugged or had got lost?

                When I did finally manage to track down Maria Koroleva I unravelled the riddle.

                She had thrown her mobile phone away. Maria Koreleva, a member of staff and an academic at the prestigious Moscow State University informed me:

                "I threw the mobile phone away because the administrative staff kept on phoning me up asking me to come in and supervise those exams, do this and that task. I could not do anything else and could not get any peace. Most of this work was unpaid and far from necessary."

                Maria Koroleva's situation is hardly exceptional. All over Russia, teachers at universities and schools are constantly being asked to attend conferences, make reports, fill in forms, supervise exams or take students on an excursion.

                Just at the time when teachers salaries are being  cut and many threatened by redundacies, the length of hours has soared . It is not uncommon for workers to do a 50-70 hour working week instead of keeping to the 36 hour week limit laid down by the labour code of the Russian Federation.(article 333)

                Teachers are not just expected to teach in the classroom but take students on excursions, supervise students at special Olympiad competitions, prepare for lessons, mark homework and exam papers, answer the inquiries of parents, photocopy endless documents, and show their lesson plans. Then some Russian teachers
are asked to attend parent-teacher meetings even if they have to cancel their own private students. Oksana Chebotarva, an English teacher, stated: " I either have to ask a colleague to attend instead of me, or reschedule the lessons of my private students. This is very difficult and inconvenient. I also badly need this extra money".

                According to some research, 80% of Russian teachers are doing too much work unconnected with the teaching of their pupils due to poor management.

                A primary school teacher has to check 250 school notebooks a week and, on average, 1.5 hours a day are spent on checking school notebooks and an estimated 64% of teachers are having to clean up their classrooms and the rest of the school around them.

                Despite the fact that a Russian teacher workload should not exceed  four daily lessons, "A typical Russian teacher performs 5-6 lessons a day," claims Maria Balueva, an English teacher from Saint Petersburg. But according to research by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the physical condition of teachers after performing 5 uninterrupted lessons reaches breaking point and after the sixth and the seventh, they are literary worn out.

                This has led to a situation where teachers have been likened to serfs.

                The Russian government has recently declared that a recently prepared project, 'Concerning the specific working schedule of working hours and rest of teachers in existing educational activities', is designed to alleviate the predicament of teachers. For instance, the paper proposes teachers could rightly refuse to undertake work suggested by their head, at special summer camps during holidays as well as other unreasonable demands made upon them.

                 This has not satisfied the representatives of the unions, University Solidarity and 'Teacher'. Pavel Kudyukin, co-hairman of University Solidarity states:

                 'The order widens the list of unpaid hours.... " He explains that according to the order, some previous forms of paid work will become unpaid. There is also no real mechanism for practically preventing this abuse of labour.

                 The Unions of Teachers were not even consulted about this order.

                 He adds: "There is a necessity to distinguish between two forms of working hours. Those connected with education - planning lessons, informing parents, conference participation, and work with libraries which can't be concretely counted, and extra work paid by agreement such as going on excursions'. Attentive examination of this order
indicates the unpaid teacher hours will rise not fall. Pavel Kudyukin declares: "Lecturers are one of the most weak and oppressed categories of employees as there are in the majority of universities mass dismissals being carried out. The working load of teachers is increasing beyond control. Anyone can be dismissed after their contract expires."

                 Both Univeristy Solidarity and the Union Teacher, have collected 8,000 signatures against the order which would mean an increase in unregulated and unpaid teaching hours.

                 "Teachers are confronted with a choice: either muster super -strength, forget their families, self-development, or raise up their hands, leave the profession and become private tutors. The latter alternative will
worsen the quality of education," states Pavel Kudyukin.

                 A third proposed alternative of throwing away your mobile phone met with bemused and raised eye brows!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

F$%# the Police!

BLM Says F*#% the Police at April 1st Teachers Strike Rally

By Jim Vail
Special to

BLM activist Page May said to "F#$% the Police!"

“Fuck the Police!”

The speaker Page May from Black Lives Matter screamed this out at the April 1st Teachers Strike rally downtown, igniting an angry reaction from not only the police, but teachers as well.

At the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting Wed. April 6, several delegates expressed their outrage and demanded that the CTU leadership issue an apology.

“The CTU didn’t say that,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey told the delegates. “Then people would take the apology and find fault with the CTU. If we would respond to Page, it would blow it up even more.”

The video of the speaker, who teaches at a charter school and is therefore not a member of the CTU, went viral and became big news on the social media.

On the Facebook page Chicago Code BLUE at The Chicago Teachers Union, over 1200 commented via different face expressions, creating a division between supporters and those who condemned Page’s speech.

“This educator does not speak for any of the teachers in Chicago. She speaks for her own agenda … and she now teaches our children to hate.”

“I continue to learn and be inspired by you (Page)! As my grandfather would always say, ‘Keep the failth!’”

Teachers who were critical of the speech wrote letters to CTU President Karen Lewis and Lewis said she responded to each one of them.

“I didn’t say anything wrong,” Lewis told the delegates. “I said the police are not the enemy.”

Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo demanded an apology.

“Dean Angelo the FOP President called me,” Lewis told her delegates. “I’ve been trying to call him since he got elected, but he has not returned my calls. I’ve been actually ignored.”

The CTU delegates passed a resolution recently that denounced the cover-up of the Laquan McDonald police murder. CTU officials made it clear that the resolution was against the act of a police officer shooting an unarmed teenager 16 times.

The FOP has rigorously defended its members when confronted with rogue cops who have abused their power.

Unions are supposed to protect their members against accusations, especially unfair accusations. However, they also negotiate settlements when their members, such as officer Jason Van Dyke who was caught on a video cam shooting McDonald 16 times as he walked away, have a weak case.

How weak is his case? Two of the top three city politicians lost their jobs after the black community erupted over the McDonald video. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez lost her bid for re-election for refusing to prosecute Van Dyke until after the video went viral, Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired and protesters are continuing to demand that the mayor resign over a cover-up.

The Black Lives Matter group has also been vigorous in confronting rogue cops who murder civilians. They have organized major protests and demanded reforms because many people in rough neighborhoods do not trust the police.

One black teacher delegate at Wednesday’s meeting said she felt conflicted when she heard about the BLM speaker’s speech. She said she has police officers in her family, but she also has a cousin who was murdered by the cops. She said the union was correct to say it did not do anything wrong.

“You never know,” one CTU member said. “The speaker could have also had a family member or friend murdered by the police.”
The CTU sent out an email to its members to laud the success of Friday’s demonstration and successful one-day strike that culminated in a march of an estimated 20,000 people that united the teachers with university workers, fast food workers and other unions and organizations.

The letter written by Sharkey acknowledged the police speech controversy.

“Although one speaker went off message and condemned police in a way that our Union does not condone, and we regret what was said, the rally was a resounding success. We hope that this unexpected incident, which could not have been predicted, does not obscure the tremendous power and momentum we created on April 1.”