Bad advice from Eric
The Trib's Eric Zorn is way off base in calling on the CTU to surrender and withdraw it's complaint to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board regarding Rahm's fraudulent longer-school-day waiver elections. He claims:
"Losing this legal battle would be better for the Chicago Teachers Union, though it would stand to weaken its position should similar fights erupt over other issues in years to come. Graciously surrendering now would be best."Zorn is well aware of what's going on.
Administrators have been going school by school offering incentives to staffs that vote to work a longer day. It's analogous to the owner of a unionized factory going department by department and offering bonuses and other goodies to workers who agree to ignore major parts of their labor deals. Such an effort makes an end-run around contractual rights and takes the "collective" out of collective bargaining.So why then does he call on the union to surrender? He's worried that in winning the legal battle and getting a court injunction against this latest City Hall election bribery scam, the union would lose the PR battle. Teachers will be falsely portrayed as wanting a shorter school day or defending the status quo.
In the short run, he may be right. The mayor currently owns the embedded press corps (save a few) and the media has continued to repeat his claim that too little seat time is what's ailing the city's schools. They have all but ignored the union's counter plan for a longer school day with an enriched curriculum (missing from Rahm's more seat-time plan). And they have portrayed his wins in only 9 schools as glorious victories with hardly a word about where the bribe money has come from. That scenario isn't likely to change if the union backs off.
While the CTU could certainly stand a better PR strategy, the push-back (in the courtroom and in the streets) on the mayor's contract-busting is a good struggle, one being fought on just grounds and deserving of community support.
Thanks, but no thanks, for the advice, Eric. Teachers are fed up with "graciously surrendering."