|Photo by Jesse Sharkey|
From the looks of things, fold doesn't appear to be part of CTU Pres. Karen Lewis' dictionary. At yesterday's meeting the union's House of Delegates gave Lewis the power to serve the CPS board with 10-day notification of a strike as required by state law. Hundreds of teachers are already manning informational picket lines despite board's campaign of intimidation and spying/reporting on teacher union activists.
Emanuel, who has resorted to using paid, anti-union protesters at board meetings has now enlisted his machine cronies at UNO in a divisive and cynical scab campaign directed at parents, using radio ads to boast that their charter school teachers will still be on the job while their public school brothers and sisters are walking picket lines. The mayor has also told his hand-picked board to come up with $25 million to be used to try and break the strike. The easily found the money, proving once again that the school district's financial picture was not nearly as dire as the mayor and the board members have said it was.
|Lewis at news conference outside CPS headquarters | John H. White~Sun-Times|
CBS reports that a union spokeswoman hinted to reporters that if an agreement isn't reached, teachers might take their signs all the way to North Carolina to the Democratic National Convention, where Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to speak.
Behind the tough talk is a tense showdown between Emanuel and the teachers, with possible ramifications beyond Chicago at a time when most unions have seen their power slip dramatically. The mayor angered the teachers with his demands for a longer school day and other concessions, and the result appears to be an energized union that authorized a strike by a wide margin.From my vantage point, it's clear that the union has enough support from its teachers as well as from many parents and community activists who are already organizing in support of the teachers and options for their own children in the event of a strike, to sustain a long strike if necessary. It's doubtful, in my mind, that Emanuel has that same kind of support from the national party leadership.
Solidarity activities are being organized by unions and support groups around the country. Here's a sight organized by a Network of Teacher Activist Groups, where you can make a pledge of support for CTU teachers.