|Marines Martinez from Chicago ACTS Local 4343 tells media that ASPIRA charter teachers are willing to go on strike to “take a stand for our students and our larger communities.”|
BREAD & ROSES...It's International Women's Day and what better way to celebrate than to show some solidarity with Chicago's, mostly women of color, fast food workers who are filing EEOC complaints today against Burger King. The filing will be followed by a protest in front of a downtown Burger King restaurant to demand an end to the rampant sexual harassment and workplace violence happening in their stores.
Fast food workers at BK stores across the city have experienced physical and verbal abuse along with intimidation from general management at several locations owned by the same franchisee. One under-aged woman worker was fired for not consenting to specific sexual requests.
Contact Deivid Rojas, Communications Director Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago,
Fight For 15 Chicago for more. 312.219.0008.
THE KLONSKY BROS. will be talking plenty of IWD stuff and more with 10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza on Hitting Left radio, Friday at 11 a.m. on WLPN 105.5 F.M., streaming live at Lumpen Radio. Don't miss.
ASPIRA teachers have set March 17th as their strike date unless a last-minute agreement is reached. If they do strike, it will be the first strike of charter schools in the nation. ASPIRA runs four publicly funded Chicago charter schools, serves 1,400 students - who are mostly Latino - and has 106 educators.
Teachers said at a press conference Tuesday that ASPIRA schools were not allocating money correctly, letting basic school building needs - like clean bathrooms and stalls - are falling by the wayside. Educators posted photos on Facebook from inside the high school of leaky ceilings, water marks and bug traps in the building.
"We want to make sure that ASPIRA tells us where they are spending their money. If you walk into our schools... I've been with ASPIRA for five years and every year it seems like conditions are getting worse and worse," said Marines Martinez, an ASPIRA teacher.Parents agree. They said teachers put much of their own money into classrooms and need a raise.
TEACHERS AT NOBLE, Chicago’s biggest and most heavily funded charter school network, have set out to form a union, a move that if successful would create the largest charter school union in the nation. Founded in 1999, Noble operates 17 campuses across the city, educating more than 12,000 students. They are the darling of Gov. Bruce Rauner who has one of their schools named after him."The school needs a lot of things. He knows that. I ask him for minor things and the school don't have it. This school doesn't have a gym, doesn't have anything," said Louis Mendez, an ASPIRA parent.
As of Friday morning, 131 of the roughly 800 Noble teachers and staff across city had signed on in support of the union. Union organizers told The American Prospect on Monday that they have received many more signatures since then, but could not say exactly how many because online signatures are still being tallied.
Mariel Race, a Noble teacher involved in the organizing efforts, says her charter network has long focused on expansion, but now operates so many schools that it’s time to shift gears towards retaining strong teachers.
“We’ve given our feedback on teacher retention for many, many years, and I don’t feel like it’s really being heard,” she told The American Prospect. “There’s not a whole lot that’s being done about it. I think that having a teacher perspective at the table is a huge piece, and I think in order to be heard, with legal backing, and collective backing, it needs to be a union.”CTU Pres. Karen Lewis, also voiced support for the Noble Street teachers.
“The Chicago Teachers Union stands in complete solidarity with the courageous teachers and staff in the Union of Noble Educators, and personally, I am extremely proud of their desire to strengthen their collective voice to better advocate for the students they serve,” she said in a statement.