Saturday, April 9, 2016

The union makes us strong

Karen Lewis not only was re-elected by acclaim by CTU's House of Delegates, she out-polls the mayor 3-1.
Congratulations to CTU President Karen Lewis and her fellow CORE-slated candidates on being re-elected by acclamation (no opposition slate ran against CORE) as leaders of the teachers union for another term. The re-election of the slate is testimony not only to broad teacher support and respect President Lewis enjoys, but also to the need felt by union members for unity of action in the face of anti-union attacks.

If not for last year's health problems, President Lewis would likely be Mayor Lewis today. She and the union continue to out-poll Rahm Emanuel citywide, offering hope that an end of mayoral control of the schools is on the horizon.

That unity and discipline were also on display on April 1st, when some 30,000 teachers and staff took to the streets in a one-day strike, demanding fair and adequate funding for public education. This in response to the board's violations of their own contract agreements and Gov. Rauner's ongoing hostage-taking of the state's school budget.

In the weeks leading up to the strike, teachers faced threats of punishment from CEO Forrest Claypool. Local media sent reporters out desperately searching for teachers willing to scab on their striking union brothers and sisters. They even found a couple. But when it came to the Day of Action, nary a scab could be found.

Leading up to the strike, there were obvious internal disagreements within the CTU over tactics. In the end, the vote by union delegates to authorize the strike won by a margin of 486-124.

Hooray for internal struggle within a democratic union. The national AFT could learn a thing or two from the way the CTU struggles out its differences. Once dissenting voices were heard and the vote taken within the union's House of Delegates, union members closed ranks and their strike drew citywide support. It offered a powerful show of union and community strength and is most likely a harbinger of things to come in May if teachers are still forced to work without a fair contract.

CPS is now claiming that 247 CTU members crossed union picket lines.

S-T's Lauren Fitzpatrick writes:
 The bulk of them, 173, were teachers, CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner said. She had no details of where those workers reported or how CPS counted them.
I have my doubts. But then I don't believe anything CPS' Liar-In-Chief Emily Bittner says. Since schools were shut down tighter than a drum and parents kept students home or out on the picket lines, the question is, what were these 173 out of 27,000 teachers supposedly doing that day?

In any event, even if these reports are true, that's a minuscule number of strike-breakers.

Let the dogs howl. The union makes us strong.

One final note from an old hand.

S-T's Mick Dumke reports today that Chicago undercover cops are being diverted from dealing with the city's gun violence pandemic and are being sent instead to spy on protest groups.
The police department already had been monitoring the actions and online postings of protest groups in the aftermath of the 2014 shooting of a black teenager by a white cop in Ferguson, Missouri. Then, in October, the records show Ralph Price, the police department’s top lawyer, signed off on a plan to send undercover cops to “monitor” meetings of four additional groups. They included Black Lives Matter activists, as well as churches and philanthropic organizations. 
A month later — after the court-ordered release of police dashcam video showing a white Chicago cop, Officer Jason Van Dyke, shooting and killing a black teenager, Laquan McDonald — a top Emanuel aide went to the command center of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications to keep tabs on protests organized by the Black Youth Project 100, one of the groups spied on by the police.
FBI Chief Hoover and Pres. Nixon launched COINTELPRO.
Back in the day, I and thousands of other Chicagoans were victimized and had our civil liberties violated by similar programs of spying, disruption and intimidation. Operation COINTELPRO and the Chicago Red Squad were central to the plan, which wasn't limited to spying, but included more heinous acts, including the assassination of Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton. The Red Squad and FBI spread misinformation, gossip and rumors among and within various organizations in their efforts to sow division and destroy social movements.

I was part of a lawsuit that resulted in an agreement by the city to disband the Red Squad and cease and desist the spying on protest groups.
After 11 years of litigation, a 1985 court decision ended the Chicago Police Department's Subversive Activities Unit's unlawful surveillance of political dissenters and their organizations. In the fall of 1974, the Red Squad destroyed 105,000 individual and 1,300 organizational files when it learned that the Alliance to End Repression was filing a lawsuit against the unit for violating the U.S. Constitution. The records that remain are housed at the Chicago Historical Society. The public requires special permission to access them until 2012. (Encyclopedia of Chicago)
I visited the Historical Society's archives this week to review my own files.  It's a great site for a school research project.

Looks like Rahm is back at it again. Be careful out there.


  1. I wish that something positive can be said about the majority of police who do their job under pretty horrific circumstances. No, I am not talking about the police who do not follow procedures or who spy on folks or organizations. I am talking about the majority who do not do this. The Friday strike rally outburst of an activist not associated with the CTU who decided to curse and cuss out all the police needs to be rejected and repudiated by the CTU as well as sane, normal folks somewhere in the blogosphere and I do not see any mention of it. The CPD is usually very supportive of the CTU and its members. Lambasting an entire group of people based on the actions of a few is pretty disgusting. Too bad no one wants to mention it.

  2. Barb wrote: "I wish that something positive can be said about the majority of police who do their job under pretty horrific circumstances."

    Thanks Barb. I think you just said it. As far a no one else mentioning it, it's actually been the talk of the town. I mean, here you had this magnificent demonstration of support for school funding and in support of teachers and public schools and all the media coverage seems to be about is a few scabs and that one of the speakers used a word of profanity to express her anger.

    BTW, I never use profanity. How about you?

    Now the FOP, an organization that openly defends Jon Burge and his gang of torturers, and Jason Van Dyke, who pumped 16 bullets into the body of Laquan McDonald, is demanding that the Karen Lewis and the CTU apologize for someone else's comment. I didn't hear Page May's speech, but I'm told her angry remarks were in fact made in response to Lewis who said, "the police are not our enemy". Tell me again why Lewis and the CTU should apologize?

    I think that it's the FOP which owes the entire community an apology and that those decent, law abiding cops you speak about, should stand up and be heard.

    If, as you say, the majority of cops are good people (and I hope you are right), let them speak out and end the "code of silence" as several of the African American officers have already done.

    Thanks again for you comment

  3. For the third time, I will attempt to answer your comment above. First, no positive comments have indeed been made about the police and few about the rally. You are right about the media. They focus on the .001% of teachers who worked and on the activist's tirade. It's all negative by design. This we all know.

    Second, no. Mike, I have never used profanity on the large stage. As you are aware, what is said in private is often different than what is said in public. This activist hijacked the rally and that is not a good thing.

    Third, I never stated that the CTU should apologize for what this speaker said. There is a difference between condemning and repudiating her words and apologizing. But if it happened in your house, and the rally was a CTU-organized event, than you make it right.

    Fourth, I never mentioned the FOP. You seemed to hijack my comment to make one of your own. The FOP has its own issues and I did not address them here.

    Fifth, I hope you do find the speech of this person online. It is a nasty piece of work.

    Finally, putting me in a position to stand up for the police is just plain weird. It is not something I have ever done and do not plan to do so in the future. But condemning a whole group of people is simply not acceptable nor appropriate. That goes for teachers, unions, African-Americans, and yes, even the police. I think that is obvious to most clear thinking people.

  4. Sorry for the delay, Barb. I was on a break. Dancing as fast as I can. :>)

  5. It wasn't you, Mike. It was the blogger thing I had to get thru that kept making my reply disappear. No need to dance on my account. :)


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