Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rahm Emanuel's bizarre Trump-like assault on Chicago teachers

Rahm, an embarrassment to the Clinton campaign. 
Mayor 1% is back at it.

He has the power to avoid next week's teachers strike with a reasonable contract offer. There's TIF money within reach to solve the immediate problems.

Instead, he's gone off on the city's teachers in bizarre, Trump-like fashion, claiming that if teachers strike, they chose disrupting children's education over pay raises. He goes on to call it a "strike of choice, not necessity".

The implication is that teachers -- who've been hit by mass firings of 1,000 teachers and staff, who are being threatened with an end to the pension pick-up, which amounts to a 7% pay cut and who've working without a contract for more than a year -- are just walking out for the hell of it.

If this is "a strike of choice", it's the mayor's choice and I predict, he will pay dearly for it as he did four years ago.

Jesse Sharkey, the CTU's vice president, says the union is taking its stand due to the contract status but also to cuts—to pay, school staffing and services like librarians and special education professionals.
“This is in the mayor's power to solve,” Sharkey said. “This is the mayor's problem."
As you may recall, Rahm used those same strike of choice words (see Chicago teacher Greg Michie's 2012 piece in Huffington) in the weeks leading up to the 2012 strike. His strategy backfired, only increasing citywide parent support for the ultimately victorious teachers. 

For Rahm, that strike, along with his massive school closings, marked the beginning of his slide to the bottom. Remember, he was forced to bring Barbara Byrd-Bennett in through the back door to replace his incompetent CEO J.C. Brizard, at the bargaining table. That led to her ascendancy to the top of the system and to the great SUPES corruption scandal that followed. The school system has never recovered.

Four years later, Rahm's ratings are in the toilet, especially in the black community and parent support for the teachers is building once more. The CTU, on the other hand is unified, as this week's 95% strike vote showed.

Rahm's faithful anti-union flack, Peter Cunningham has also been echoing the mayor's line on Twitter. It's what he does. Here he complains about those greedy Chicago teachers:
Brother Fred responds
First, to be clear, having the highest paid teachers in the country means nothing when you look at the data. Being the highest paid in a profession that notoriously is non-competitive with those in comparable professions hardly earns a smiley face. 
The difference between the salaries of teachers in major urban districts like Chicago, LA and NY is negligible. Being first means nothing. Teacher salaries in major urban districts are way below what someone with similar college degrees, certification and years of experience earn in the private sector. 
With what we know about the current CPS offer on the table is that a third of the teachers in Chicago are not eligible to receive any step or lane movement, meaning without a fair salary increase, they will earn even less in the future.
Not to be outdone, Tribune editors (preceding their endorsement of Gary "Where's Aleppo?" Johnson for president, blamed CTU teachers for causing the "chaos and exodus" from Chicago public schools.

Again, Cunningham picks up this ludicrous charge and runs with it.
Does Rahm really want another strike in the weeks leading up to the election, while Gov. Rauner sits on the mountain laughing as the tigers fight below? Isn't the mayor already an embarrassment to his patrons, the Clintons, who won't get within a mile of him and who need a big-city teachers strike right now like Republicans need another Trump?

SAVE THE CHICAGO READER! -- “Help us win the fight for the Reader: its bold writing must be saved,” writes Ben Joravsky on Medium:
“If you like the Reader — if you appreciate its voice of independence in politics and the arts — help us out. Please put pressure on Wrapports. Let them know they should invest the money to build the paper and pay its workers a fair wage. To continue down this path means a great Chicago newspaper will slowly die.”

1 comment:


    Oct. 3, 2016

    CONTACT: Steven Ashby, 630-697-8694, Erica Clark, 773-851-6287

    Chicago parent, community groups support teachers in contract fight, ramp up pressure on mayor with weekly call in campaign

    CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is hoping the school budget crisis will drive a wedge between Chicago and its teachers, but a city-wide coalition of parent and community organizations is heading to City Hall Tuesday to prove him wrong and ramp up pressure on the mayor for a fair teachers contract.

    The newly formed Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign will hold a press conference and deliver the mayor a letter signed by more than 50 parent and community organizations supporting the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) decision to strike next week if the city doesn’t agree to a fair contract by then.

    The groups will announce a city-wide call in campaign, targeted at city hall, beginning Wednesday. Parents and other Chicagoans committed to our public school teachers are being urged to flood the mayor’s office with calls every Wednesday until a new teachers contract is reached.

    WHAT: We Stand With Our Teachers, solidarity rally and press conference
    WHEN: 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4
    WHERE: Chicago City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, 5th floor
    VISUALS: Signs, banners supporting Chicago teachers

    CPS teachers have been working without a contract since July 1, 2015, and their union has been negotiating in good faith with the district. But the mayor’s handpicked school board continues to demand a pay cut from teachers and refuses to guarantee important classroom improvements.

    Last week the union’s House of Delegates set a strike date of Oct. 11, which means teachers will withhold their labor if no agreement has been reached by then.
    The solidarity committee is calling on the mayor to bargain a fair contract that protects teachers and students in CPS classrooms. But if that doesn’t happen, the group will take to the streets in support of the teachers.


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