|Weingarten calls for "new unionism"|
Weingarten, who was re-elected this week for a third term as union president with 98 percent of the vote, is claiming a mandate for her approach to dealing with corporate reform. She's holding up recently signed agreements in New Haven and Cleveland as models of collaboration, agreements which include teacher evaluations and merit pay based on student test scores.
All this should provide fodder for an interesting discussion within SOS as the fledgling organization tries to figure out how to support teacher unions and collective-bargaining rights now under attack nationwide, while maintaining its own badly-needed organizational unity. The labor workshop will likely produce a resolution calling for support for the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) in its contract negotiations with the mayor's hand-picked school board -- a battle that still could lead to a strike next month. The CTU's fight-back approach, which has mobilized support from parents and community allies, is seen by many inside and outside the AFT as a counter to Weingarten's new unionism. Last week, the CTU forced important concessions from Rahm and the board, and a CTU victory without a strike now seems possible. Such a victory could set a more militant tone for other contract negotiations.