Tag Archives: CTU Strike

The New CTU Contract vs. The Old UFT Non-Contract


Norm at Ed Notes has a thorough treatment of what might be in the new Chicago Teachers’ Union contract. Michael Fiorillo expresses gratitude to the CTU:

Can’t we at least take satisfaction and feel some gratitude in the CTU wiping some of the smugness and arrogance off the faces of these bastards, and showing that the destruction of the public schools will not be passively allowed to happen?

This was an epochal strike, one that will be seen as the opening round in the battle to reclaim public education. After decades of being slandered and knocked back on our heels, the CTU has shown that we can fight back and begin to reclaim the territory that is rightfully ours. They deserve our thanks and support.

Those of us in NYC especially need to thank the CTU. As Michael suggested, they have shown us that fighting back against the education reform juggernaut is possible. We have had the reformer boot on our necks for a decade here in the nation’s largest public school system. The Chicago strike was a gunshot in the darkness, a potential awakening to the fact that the boot is on our necks only because we have allowed it.

And “we” means our union. As was pointed out in Norm’s post, there will surely be spin by UFT leadership as to why the strike was unnecessary, about how we have all of the things the CTU has without striking and how our salvation lies in backroom negotiations with reformer types.

So, let us put that to the test by comparing what the CTU might have gotten to what we have. Bullet points about the CTU contract all come from Norm’s link included at the start of this post.

1. They have a contract.

The first response to any Unity supporter who tries to downplay the Chicago strike is that they have a contract and we do not. They were willing to strike for their right to a contract, while the UFT has done…. what exactly?

2. *Provide A Better School Day:* The Board will hire 512 additional ‘special’ teachers in art, music, physical education, world languages and other classes to ensure students receive a better school day, a demand thousands of parents have called for since last year.

While in NYC, each school has either one art or one music teacher, but not both. Foreign languages are dying and hundreds of Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese and Latin teachers around the city have been excessed over the past 3-5 years. The state is working on  getting rid of the Global History regents, which will surely mean teachers of that subject will face layoffs and excessing in the near future.

3. *Ensures Job Security:*Creates a “CPS Hiring Pool,” which demands that one-half of all of CPS hires must be displaced (laid-off) members.

A good provision that not only protects jobs, but ensures children will have more experienced teachers rather than TFA mercenaries. Meanwhile, in NYC, we have an untold number of ATRs, perfectly good teachers who are demeaned every day by making copies, locking bathrooms and doing cafeteria duty. That is not to say these jobs are demeaning, that is to say that our ATRs should be teaching. Of course, the Unity response to this is “at least they still have jobs”. Protecting jobs is the least a union can do for its members. It makes no sense to give the UFT credit for doing the least with our union dues. They should be fighting for our conditions, quality and professionalism. The CTU restored some of that with this provision.

4. *Adds An Anti-Bullying Provision: *No more bullying by principals and managerial personnel. The new language will curtail some of the abusive practices that have run rampant in many neighborhood schools.

This is one of the biggest problems in NYC, a problem that has been allowed to persist because of a lack of a new contract. The contract by which we are forced to abide has so much grey area, grey area that has allowed principals to get away with murder, that the bullying of teachers is epidemic throughout the system. The fact that we cannot grieve letters to the file anymore, the fact that it is nearly impossible to win the grievances we do bring forward, the fact that teachers pretty much have to sue in court to overturn “U” ratings because of the biased appeals process, the fact that Walcott has supported principals who sexually harass their staff, the fact that SCI and OSI essentially now try to substantiate every frivolous charge and the fact that the new generation of arbitrators hired for 3020a hearings were brought in to fire teachers has led to a system that bullies teachers as a matter of policy. We do not know exactly what kind of anti-bullying provisions were won by the CTU, but we do know that we have no anti-bullying provisions in NYC. When we finally do negotiate a new contract, something substantial has to be done about bullying or nothing else we get in the contract will matter.

5. *Racial Diversity:*The CTU continues to fight the District on its lay-off policies that has led to a record number of African American educators being laid off and eventually terminated by the District. The new contract will ensure that CPS recruits a racially diverse teaching force.

A high percentage of laid-off Chicago teachers have been black. This is an Arne Duncan legacy and has continued in Chicago until this day. To replace them, we get the Ivy League suburban TFA alum with no ability to communicate with inner-city students and no intention to continue to teach. That means they are not motivated to learn how to communicate with inner-city students, making them mostly crappy teachers. The same thing is happening in NYC. The black educator has been disappearing. This is not so much a race issue as it is an issue of community-building. Too many new teachers are from the suburbs and have no idea what the students in their classes face. There is an alienation between student and teacher. The CTU is trying to overcome this. The UFT, historically, has driven wedges between teachers and the communities they serve. The 1968 strike comes to mind. It is unlikely the UFT will change their tune in this regard or call for hiring practices that will bring in people from the community. It is a shortcoming woven into the fabric of the Unity caucus.

6. *Fairer Evaluation Procedures:* The new contract will limit CPS to 70% “teacher practice,” 30% “student growth” (or test scores)—which is the minimum by state law. It also secures in the first year of implementation of the new evaluation procedures there will be “no harmful consequences” for tenured teachers. It also secures a new right—the right to appeal a Neutral rating.

Teacher evaluations based 30% on student test scores is the most the CTU could have gotten thanks to Illinois law. In New York, we have at least 20% and most likely it will go up to 40%. It is the only 40% that matters since we are rated “inefficient” overall if we fail that 40%. This is what our union negotiated for us and told us it was such a great thing. Not only did they not resist any parts of these provisions, but defended them to us. The fact that two inefficient ratings in a row leads to 3020s hearings effectively ends tenure for NY teachers. In Chicago, they have at least secured some sort of guarantee for tenured teachers., as well as a right to appeal that seems more fair than in NY. Remember, in NYC, only 13% of teachers will have the right to appeal a bad rating. The UFT tells us this is preferable to what goes on now where no teachers ever gets a “U’ overturned. Unfortunately, it was the UFT who allowed it to get that way in the first place.

7. *Reimbursement for School Supplies:*The contract will require the District to reimburse educators for the purchase of school supplies up to $250.

Hmmmm, I am no mathematician, but $250 seems more than the NOTHING NYC teachers get now.

8. *Reduced Paperwork:*The new contract ensures the new paperwork requirements are balanced against reduction of previous requirements.

Paperwork sorely cuts into teacher time. We know that the vast majority of paperwork we get is useless. While this is a problem in all schools, the fact that the CTU tackled this issue at all is a small victory for our professionalism and respect for our important duties. By the way NYC teachers, have you filled out your Circular 6 assignments yet?

Notice that most of the things in the new CTU contract have to do with learning and teaching conditions. This should put to rest all of the dumb talk about going on strike for “more money” and “limousine benefits”. Much of what is listed above goes to the heart of what it means to be a teacher in the age of education reform,

As for our union in NYC, they cannot pretend that the contract we currently do not have is better than what the CTU received after a strike. While this is not a perfect contact (none of them are), its provisions certainly beat most of the contract we are forced to work under. Is the corporate unionism of the UFT better for students and teachers than the social justice unionism of the CTU? Look at the contracts and decide for yourself.



On Occupy’s One Year Anniversary, The CTU Carries The Torch

I miss Occupy Wall Street. Even though it only lasted a few months, I have stories from there that I will remember forever.

My favorite thing to do was to head to Liberty Square after work, make a quick cardboard sign and stand on Broadway holding it. Making signs was a skill. The lettering had to be large enough for people to read but small enough to fit the point you were trying to make. I would always choose a smallish piece of cardboard in order to not block out anyone else’s sign. I got good enough where I could make a good point in a short sentence, sometimes even using statistics. I would never use slogans or clichés. The point being made had to be authentic and original.

I would head to Broadway with my sign and find a nice spot in the line of sign-holders. There was a healthy amount of foot and car traffic on Broadway that increased as the Occupy movement gained steam. It was a great feeling when a passer-by would lock eyeballs on my sign, read it and shake their heads in agreement. Sometimes they would come talk to me, either to ask a question or give me a compliment. All types of reporters threw me questions and there are still Youtube videos up made by independent journalists that contain interviews with me. Occasionally, students of mine would pass by and it became known around my school that I was going to the Occupy protests. The students were all very supportive, making it one of the best teachable moments of my career.

Of course, not everybody came to Occupy in support. There would be the occasional Wall Street guy or random angry person that would pass by and call us “communists” or “losers”. There were people who fancied themselves little Glenn Becks or Sean Hannitys who would walk down the line of sign holders trying to start debates. I would crave their attention. It did not take much. I would just stand there, staring straight in front of me and, boom, I was face to face with a street pundit who was going to put me in my place.

One of these guys was a self-professed libertarian, as most of these smart-alecks were. His debating style was not so much a give-and-take discussion as it was a yelling of libertarian clichés ad nauseam. He thought he had disposed of all the people in the line pretty easily, so he was real confident by the time he got to me. Unfortunately for him, I was all-too-familiar with libertarian talking points and knew exactly what he was going to say before he said it. He did not dispose of me quite as easily as he expected. Instead, he stayed there next to me yelling his point, the same sentences, over and over. A crowd started to gather, mostly passers-by who thought there was a fist fight brewing. I was completely calm knowing I would never get into a fist fight over a silly political debate. The circle grew with every moment. They were in rapt attention of the discussion going on. His point, as is the point of most libertarians, is that the government does not do anything right. For good measure, he called me a “union bum” because I was a teacher. For every one of his clichés, I calmly retorted a counterpoint. I asked him why he was so quick to yield power to his corporate masters, why he believed everything should be commodified and asked him if there would ever be a Hoover Dam, a subway system, public education or a highway system if the forces of profit were given the reigns of society. My point to him was that there were things that are necessary for the greater good, and just happen not to be profitable, so the government has a duty to step in and provide them. I ended by saying, “this sidewalk you’re standing on, you’re using it to voice your free speech and it was built and maintained by government. Why are you using this government sidewalk if you hate government so much?”

He walked away. He did not even go to the next protestor, he just left the vicinity. Many in the crowd of onlookers shook my hand and others offered their opinion on why the other guy was an idiot. One guy came up to me, well dressed with a foreign accent, and he said “you know, I agree with you. I have been out of a job for over a year and that guy just thinks it is so easy to find work.” He was really unsure of himself. I realized then that, although many in the crowd were relatively informed, there were others like him who were on the fence. For some of them, this might have been one of the only real political debates they have seen. I felt as if I had swayed a few minds to my way of thinking in that moment.

Those were my greatest moments at Occupy. Sure, connecting with people who shared my concerns on the dark path our nation treads is great. But being able to get those people who have never really thought about the way our country is headed  over to my side was so much better. What happened in those little moments at Occupy mirrored what was happening around the country. The movement was making people face the stark reality that our system needs change. People are suffering because the system is rigged to favor the well-to-do. A new vigor and honesty was injected into the public debate, one the media could not even ignore despite their best efforts to do so. This was Occupy’s greatest accomplishment.

Ever since the evictions, Occupy has never been able to regain the influence it had in those heady days of autumn 2011. Occupy’s one-year anniversary is coming up and events at Liberty Square are being planned. As we look upon the nation today, there is one glimmer of hope that Occupy’s spirit is still alive.

You have guessed it, it is in Chicago. The marches filling the streets of the Windy City are reminiscent of when Broadway was stacked for a mile with protestors. In both cases, the media totally underreport the numbers to portray it as some sort of fringe movement. The fight for better education in Chicago reminds me of the high and honest ideals people supported at Occupy. The exasperation over corporatism, privatization, commodification and political corruption define both movements. More importantly, they have forced the corporate media to discuss issues they would rather ignore. They have forced the media to do the job they are supposed to do, which is to inform and educate.

For example. the mainstream media usually portrays teacher evaluations based on test scores as a sensible measure. They merely parrot the billionaire privatizers. When they mention the concerns of teachers over these measures at all, they portray it as teachers resisting “accountability” and reinforce the notion that teachers oppose “improvements” to the education system. However, as the strike drags on, more and more op-ed pieces and media reports are forced to present more thoughtful analysis of the testing issue. Pieces are being written now that would have been unthinkable just a year ago. As time goes on, hopefully the issues of class size, teacher experience and childhood poverty will also be examined in greater detail.

And just like at Occupy, the media has done their best to not discuss these issues. With the Occupiers, it was all about how they did not know what they wanted, had no demands and were looking for handouts. As time went on, that myth was being exploded and the media had no choice but to mention the words “poverty” and “corporatism”. With the CTU, it is about how the teachers are striking for “more money” and “better benefits”. Yet, according to even Rahmbo himself, those issues are pretty much settled. The media has had no choice but to start to mention the impacts of testing and class size. I read a few editorials today that even mention how Rahm’s own children attend classes of 18 students, leading to the notion of how the privatization movement is creating a two-tiered education system: one for the wealthy and one for everyone else.

The CTU us shining a light on issues that the media has traditionally ignored. Just like with Occupy, these are issues that make the corporate masters who control the media uncomfortable. Just like with Occupy, the movement has gathered so much momentum that the media now has no choice but to grudgingly mention these issues. That in and of itself is a victory.

What I think of is all the people who have never thought of education before, or who have allowed the media to frame the education debate for them, having that moment of clarity where the truth finally clicks.. I saw it so many times at Liberty Square and I am excited to think that it is starting to happen now in the crusade to save public education.

Rahm’s Tin Ear and the UFT’s Silent Lips

Mul-Berg marching at the Labor Day Parade……

……While Karen Lewis strikes……

…..And Rahm is like “I dunno”.

During lunch yesterday, I scrambled to the internet for the latest news about the Chicago teacher strike. One quote that came up in many different articles was this from Rahm Emanuel:

As some 29,000 teachers declared their first Chicago strike in 25 years, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the move “unnecessary” and “a strike by choice.”

“It’s avoidable,” Emanuel said, “and our kids do not deserve this.”

Sadly, I think Rahm totally believes what he says. Both he and Karen Lewis have said that the parties are pretty much in agreement on compensation. For people like Rahm, as well as the general public, that is the entire issue. Neither he nor many others can wrap their minds around why the Chicago teachers are striking.

If this strike was about compensation, the CTU would have been hiding behind the arbitrator who said CTU teachers should get a 39% raise. That is not what they are doing. Unfortunately, Rahm and many others have a tin ear to the very real and important things at stake in this strike, things that have nothing to do with teacher salary and everything to do with education.

This article goes a part of the way in explaining what those issues are:

In Chicago, last-minute contract talks broke down not over pay, but over the reform agenda, both sides said Sunday. The union would not agree to Emanuel’s proposal that teacher evaluations be based in large measure on student test scores.

Nor would the union accept his push to give principals more autonomy over hiring, weakening the seniority system that has long protected veteran teachers. Already, the demographics of the teaching profession in Chicago have notably shifted, as the private managers who run charter schools tend to favor rookie teachers who are younger and far less likely to be minorities, studies have shown.

This is the same type of evaluation system that our union here in NY foisted upon us with no controversy. As for seniority, our union in NY gave us the ATR crisis.

Money is not the issue in this strike. Hopefully, this is will be an opportunity for the CTU to educate the public in what has been happening to public schools over the past 20 years.

Rahm, for his part, does not speak this language. He is from the world of power politics and billionaires. If it is not about money and power, he is out of his element. This is why in every interview he has been giving, he looks like a deer in the headlights. He literally cannot understand all the fuss about evaluations based upon standardized exams and teachers being treated as professionals. This is why he feels as if this is a “strike of choice” and why some others have said that Karen Lewis called this strike because she has a personal axe to grind against Rahm.

Unfortunately, the union in NYC and other major school districts already sold out their teachers on the evaluation front. How do you think Mulgrew and the rest feel seeing Chicago teachers striking against the very things to which they not only agreed, but sold to us as the greatest thing to happen to teaching? Does this have something to do with their lack of action regarding the CTU? They have not encouraged teachers in NYC to help or show solidarity in any way.

As a matter of fact, while the CTU was preparing to strike, Mulgrew and Bloomberg were walking together at the Labor Day parade. Was this the way the UFT was telling Bloomberg, as well as the rest of the city, “don’t worry, we’re not like those troublemakers in Chicago.”?

There are many teachers in NYC who wish we were like those troublemakers in Chicago. We hope positive winds of change blow from the Midwest, but it will take a change in UFT leadership to make currency of that here.

CTU, UFT, MORE and Rahm

We are moving towards the 11th hour in Chicago. If the CTU and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cannot agree to a new contract by Monday, 30,000 Chicago public school teachers will go out on strike.

The happenings in Chicago have been, and will continue to be, instructive to public school teachers across the nation. Chicago has been a laboratory for many of the schemes associated with the destructive force erroneously known as “education reform”. Many of us who take the long view of events are hoping that education reform will meet its doom in the city where it all started.

It is the place Arne Duncan made his metamorphosis from retired athlete to education hit man. His friendly basketball games with a community organizer named Barack Obama ensured his spot as United States Secretary of Education when Obama became president. Obama’s 2008 electoral mandate, along with a generous Department of Education budget, helped Duncan become the most powerful Education Secretary in U.S. History.

The result has been a metastasis of Duncan’s Chicago education philosophy across the country. It is a philosophy that celebrates Hurricane Katrina as the best thing to happen to New Orleans public schools, one that seeks to first wipe out and then corporatize all of the nation’s public education systems. Under his watch, the school systems of Philadelphia and Detroit imploded. Children of those cities will henceforward be instructed by deskilled minimum-wage teachers and computer screens. Duncan’s is not so much an education policy as it is a scorched earth policy for public schools.

As Duncan’s handiwork manifests itself nationwide, the teachers of Chicago help point the way to a cure. They are up against a mayor whose ties to both Obama and Duncan are stronger than any other local politician in the nation. If he gets his way, Chicago goes the way of New Orleans, Philadelphia and Detroit. After that, New York and Los Angeles cannot be far behind. Part of the CTU’s cure is a work stoppage, a withholding of the only bargaining chip any working teacher across the nation has left: their labor.

Those of us in New York City must take time to thank and support the CTU and their courageous leader, Karen Lewis. They are fighting an advanced campaign against Duncan’s scorched earth policy. They are manning the gates of the city while those of us in New York and Los Angeles hunker down and hope they can fight off the corporate horde. If they cannot, if the walls are breached, the horde will surely ravage our schools to a degree we have not yet seen.

How we can help:

Brian Jones and Norm Scott say Wear Red on Monday.

Donate to the CTU Solidarity Fund.

Visit the Network of Teacher Activist Groups to voice your support.

While I fully support the CTU, part of me is jealous that it is the Chicago teachers that get to be on the front lines and not those of us in NYC. Our union, the United Federation of Teachers, has been effectively mute throughout all of the high drama in Chicago. Yet, keeping in the spirit of finding silver linings, I am happy that we at least have the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE). MORE will be at today’s Labor Day Parade and you can read the details and meet-up info here.

Unfortunately, the fact I am being kicked out of my childhood home means I will not be able to make it there myself. Hopefully, many others will show up so I will not feel too much guilt.

Teachers of New York City have needed a presence like MORE for a very long time now. While the CTU mans the gates of the city against the reformer onslaught, the UFT has been sharing secrets and street maps to our attackers.

Just imagine if Chicago was saddled with the UFT. How would the last two years there been different?

June 11th 2010: An upstart organization of teachers called the Caucus of Rank and File Educators wins all of the key officer seats in the citywide Chicago Teachers’ Union elections. Karen Lewis of CORE is elected president with a 60% vote. CORE’s platform proposes investment in public schools over school closings and charters; the preservation and expansion of enrichment programs over the myopic obsession with testing; and a professional teaching force with the protections, salary and benefits to reflect it. CORE’s victory was the result of years of organizing teachers, parents and students against the weapons of corporate education reform. They passed around copies of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine in order to educate people in the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the education reform movement. People who were otherwise disengaged became activated once they realized that the goal of Chicago reformers like Emanuel and Brizard is nothing less than the dismantling of public education in their city, with the pieces to be sold off to the lowest corporate bidder.

If the UFT were in Chicago: The ruling caucus known as Unity won another term to lead the Chicago Teachers’ Union, winning a whopping 95% of the officer seats. Their president, Michael Mulgrew, won an overwhelming victory by garnering 43,276 votes out of a total of 32,674 votes cast. Despite rumors to the contrary, Unity leaders assured the press that this mathematical impossibility is indeed possible. The fact that Unity people count the votes had nothing to do with it. Unity’s platform calls for conciliation with the Mayor, whom they supported in the most recent election despite the fact that the he called Unity leaders “hacks” and said they have “less spine than an éclair”. Unity leaders sit on the Boards of Director of various charter school networks and assured their membership that “the tireless work of handing public money off to private millionaires will continue unabated”. They also have promised to work with the Mayor on an evaluation system where 40% of teachers ratings will be based on student standardized exam scores. Yet if they receive a poor rating on that 40% portion, they will be rated “ineffective” overall. According to Unity officials, “this is the best agreement we can come up with without trying.”An opposition caucus called New Action won the remaining 5% of officer seats. They are furious over Unity’s stance on the evaluations. A New Action official today said “40% of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on tests? That is preposterous. We will fight to get that percentage down to 39.” Unity officials said that New Action’s proposal is “radical” and suggested that New Action’s leaders “go back to Canada with that socialist agenda”.

Summer 2011: Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children lobbied for, and succeeded in passing, legislation through the Illinois legislature that would require the Chicago Teachers’ Union, and only the CTU, to get at least 75% to agree before calling for a strike. He brags about how shrewd he is while speaking at a convention of billionaire reformer types in Aspen. On top of this, his lobbying allowed local school districts in Illinois to further denude teacher tenure,tie teacher evaluations to standardized exam scores and paved the way for an extended school day. He tried to eliminate collective bargaining for teachers, but that law was defeated, although it served its purpose according to Edelman. Many people, especially Edelman himself, believed he pulled a fast one on Karen Lewis. This idea was swiftly dissipated one year later.

If the UFT were in Chicago: UFT officials locked themselves away in a smoke-filled room in Springfield with state lawmakers and Jonah Edelman. It took days, but UFT officials came out of the room with big smiles on their faces. “We got Cubs tickets!” The union was able to get box seats at Wrigley Field for all 30,000 Chicago teachers. In return, they agreed to an evaluation system where teachers get fired if even one of their students fail a statewide exam, due process for tenured teachers is eliminated and the school day was increased by two hours. Edelman, sweat pouring down his brow, said “It was tough getting them to accept the deal. I originally wanted the requirement to be two students have to fail before a teacher gets fired, but they just insisted on making it one. I also wanted some form of kangaroo court for due process hearings, sort of like they have in NYC, yet those Unity guys insisted that even the appearance of due process was unnecessary. The school day was about the only thing we were in agreement on. Teachers will not be paid for the extra time, of course.” House Speaker Michael Madigan said of the negotiations “I felt bad for the union. Edelman is not even a particularly tough negotiator, it’s just the Unity guys are that bad. It was my idea to offer them the Cub tickets. I felt they should have gotten something.” Later, the Unity guys realized they had been had. The Cubs tickets offered by Speaker Madigan are for October, and everyone knows the Cubs never play in October.

Spring2012: Rahm Emanuel directs his puppet Board of Education to cancel the last 4% raise contained in the city’s contract with CTU. To justify his decision, Emanuel cries poverty despite the fact that millions of dollars meant for the public schools never get there and end up right back in the pockets of the city’s millionaires. In response, Karen Lewis mentions the possibility of a strike and promises that there will be a new contract to replace the one that Rahm broke, which was set to expire June 30. For good measure, Rahm explains that Chicago’s public school teachers are horrible people who fail half of the city’s children and do not deserve a raise. Rahm was steeled by the idea that the CTU would never be able to muster the 75% necessary for a strike. Karen Lewis knew that Rahm was stirring up the beehive of teacher discontent in Chicago, making 75% an eminently doable goal.

If the UFT were in Chicago: Unity leaders pretend to be disgusted by the mayor’s arrogance and viciousness. Articles are written on the union website explaining that the mayor is a spoiled sport and pooopyhead. They reassure the membership that they will do “everything they can” to get that 4% raise. The possibility of contract negotiations are not even mentioned, let alone a strike, dooming the teachers of Chicago to an indefinite period of continuous wage losses as the cost of living competes with the national debt for the fastest-growing dollar value in America. To soften the blow, Unity hacks throughout the internet leave comments on blogs about how teachers should be thankful to Unity for health benefits that were negotiated 30 years ago. They also remind Chicago teachers that their salary allows them to “buy food” and maybe “go to the movies once a year if you are good with money and do not mind three-dollar Wednesday matinees featuring Buster Keaton films”. Teachers should be thankful to their union for being able to live the life of a member of the lower middle class. In the next election, the union supports Rahm for reelection and still, no contract. Unity claims that “no contract is better than no contract at all.”

Summer 2012: Rahm Emanuel and his incompetent lapdog CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard, unilaterally announce an extension of the school day. What will go on in that extra time they do not say. They announce that teachers will not be compensated for the extra time they work, which includes not only the time they intend to tack on to the day, but the time needed to prep for that extra time. Karen Lewis again mentions the possibility of a strike. In order to prevent a strike, an independent arbitrator is called in to make suggestions for a new contract. In his report, arbitrator Edwin Benn said teachers working the extra day should get a 15-20% pay increase for the first year, and a nearly 39% raise over the next four years. Emanuel is stunned that someone would want to pay workers for their work. Emanuel again cries poverty and exhorts the arbitrator to consider the city’s financial straits. It is apparent someone has to, since Rahm cannot be bothered to both run the city and ensure it has money.

If the UFT were in Chicago: Union leaders have had enough. They are sick and tired of their membership having to be paid for every single thing they do. It is so selfish. Educators should do this job for nothing if they are so dedicated. After the mayor reveals his plans for a longer school day, Unity leaders hold a press conference where they explain that the union will not fight to be paid for the extra school hours. “We think it is important to be on the right side of school reform.”, said the union vice president. The teachers of Chicago seem upset. Many we spoke with say they are getting tired of the union selling them out. “Oh, they always say that.”, said the VP, “they will calm down, where else are they going to go? We’re the only game in town.” Even the independent arbitrator said that Chicago teachers need more pay, to which the union VP says “Poppycock. What needs to happen is that we need to score points with the mayor so he could give us a good job after his term is up. It is not about schools, it is about us.”

Fall 2012: The CTU goes on strike.

If the UFT were in Chicago: Do not ever use the “S” word….. Taylor Law, Taylor Law, Taylor Law, are you nuts?