|M. Klonsky pics|
Union Veep Jesse Sharkey made that same point again to rousing applause. He said the agreements won in ongoing contract negotiations, including concessions by Rahm to hire back hundreds of experienced teachers rather than forcing teachers to work a longer school day, were only the beginning. He attributed these partial victories, not so much to skill of the union negotiators, but rather to the militancy of the thousands of teachers who have marched in the streets and voted in overwhelming numbers to support a strike if necessary.
"We have fought back with widespread vocal opposition," Sharkey yelled. "We have occupied schools, we have marched, we have spoken out, we have filled auditoriums and, yes, we have authorized a strike vote. (The board) can no longer bulldoze us, so now they want to talk to us."Even when a new contract is signed, said Sharkey the struggle for a quality education for all of Chicago's children will continue. Great speech, great day.