|Rahm: "Unions are trouble." IEA: "Unions don't want to cause trouble." ( Fred Klonsky)|
Which side are you on? Which side are you on?
This is the question tearing at the very fabric of the Democratic Party as tonight's DNC opens up with Rahm Emanuel at the speaker's podium.
AFT prez Randi Weingarten tilts slightly to the side of the teachers as she calls on both sides to find "common ground.""The threat of a Chicago teachers strike is the elephant in the room at delegation meetings," write S-T staff reporters Natasha Korecki and Fran Spielman. "Everybody is aware of it and concerned about it. Nobody knows how to avert it. And nobody wants to cross Emanuel, who is known for his long memory and take-no-prisoners politics."
"We are Democrats, we are people who know how to build. The teachers of Chicago feel deeply disrespected and deeply disenfranchised and that’s what this struggle is about. Now I know the struggle can be settled and I know we can move forward, but we need to find common ground and as Democrats we have to deal with each other.”Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is only a little less timid, asking Dems for a little more in the way of labor support and painfully explaining that teachers in Chicago have already made numerous concessions.
“You’ll see smaller class sizes and better learning conditions, something we all want for our kids,” he said of teachers getting their way.As you might expect, IEA leaders were nowhere to be found, either speaking out at the DNC or at yesterday's solidarity rally. I'll leave that one to brother Fred and other NEA activists who've had it up to here. His toon above says it all.
Other local Dems, like Gov. Quinn, and Cook County Board Pres. Preckwinkle are either keeping their mouths shut or trying and walk that fine line so as not to offend Chicago machine bosses, Rahm and Madigan.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) is pretty forthright as usual in her support for the teacher.
Asked whether she believes Emanuel has “deeply disrespected” Chicago teachers, Hairston said without hesitation, “Yes.”But the worst of all at the DNC was horseshit Democrat, mayor of Boston who seems to be echoing Gov. Romney in his hatred for unions.
Emanuel found a welcome ally in Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “I’m facing the same thing that he’s facing,” Menino said. “It’s not the teachers, it’s the union leadership that wants too much. … I’m looking for longer school days.Like Rahm, Newark's Mayor Booker, L.A.'s Villaraigosa, and other Democratic pols whose campaign war chests are filled with Wall Street money and who don't face much of a Republican challenge, Menino isn't worried about the union vote. Not yet anyway. But Obama sure is. Or at least he should be. And that's why Rahm is leaving the convention early.