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 Mychicagonews.com 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. 

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