Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chicago Teachers Union rejects anti-union language in SB7

A courageous and decisive move by Chicago teachers

The 800-member Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates delivered a powerful blow to anti-union corporate school reformers and voted to direct the union to lobby state legislators “to remove the anti-union bargaining restrictions" in SB7. The bill was pushed by Stand for Children and Advance Illinois and other business group and passed unanimously last month by the Senate [See my April 14 blog post, "Big victory for the corporate "reformers" in Chicago]. It's now up for a vote in the Illinois House.

In a CTU press release, union president Karen Lewis said: 
“Bargaining in good faith appears to be a bar set too high for these so-called education reformers – Advance Illinois, Stand for Children, Illinois Business Roundtable and their millionaire funders – who joined forces with the mayor-elect to steer the conversation, and the legislation, away from school improvement to an attack on unions and the children and families they serve.  When you rob educators’ ability to bargain for true school improvement – safe schools with smaller class sizes, class offerings and how your school day is structured to meet your students’ needs – the quality of education available to all children is put at risk. CPS is an inequitable system.  This bill does not change that basic travesty.” 
The CTU statement should put lots of pressure on the two other state teacher unions whose leaders who continue to try and sell SB 7 to their members. IEA spokesman Charlie McBarron originally said  the deal, “puts kids first and will move education forward. We are proud that reforms that we supported, that we brought to the table, are part of this bill.” IEA president Ken Swanson called the agreement “a landmark, historic piece of legislation.” and "an opportunity for Illinois to be a lighthouse for the other states.”

Let's see if the CTU vote has a ripple effect. 


  1. didn't lewis endorse the deal initially, too -- ? thought i saw her at the event after the senate vote. but maybe i missed something.

  2. Yes, all the union leaders initiallly endorsed the bill as it stands, Alexander. Lewis came away saying, it was the best deal they could get at the time. IEA leaders heralded the bill as greatest thing since sliced bread and called it a model for other states. Now CTU rank-and-file has spoken. We'll see what NEA does. Either way, teachers and all unions are fighting for their lives here. Not just against T-Party govs like Walker, Snyder and Scott, but against union-busting Dems as well.


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