by Paul Kersey
Director of Labor Policy
On Labor Day, the Chicago Teachers Union held its protest in
preparation for a strike that is set to begin on Sept. 10, unless negotiations with
Chicago Public Schools result in a contract.The protest served two functions: first, as a sort of threat
display designed to demonstrate to CPS officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel that
CTU is ready to sustain a lengthy strike; and second, to reinforce the union’s
message among its rank-and-file membership
While it would be a mistake to assume that what was on
display at Daley Plaza reflected the opinions of all teachers in the Chicago
district, it was interesting to observe the crowd that was attracted to the
Government employee unions have a clear ideological agenda,
and there is a lot of overlap between their worldview and that of the “Occupy
Wall Street” protestors:
For those of us who don’t speak Spanish, the sign reads “We
are the 99%."
The rally was a magnet for a wide range of radical and Marxist
This fellow was hawking copies of “Socialist Action.”
Meanwhile, another passed out the “Worker’s Vanguard.”
There was also the “People’s Tribune.”
Now, for the most part the CTU controlled the
message at the event. Most of the
signs and buttons were printed beforehand.
Children were present at the rally, but for the
most part they were just there for the ride
I sincerely doubt these children made the signs they were
…though I wish my teachers shared CTU’s attitudes toward
Folks in the rally also appeared to use the event as an
opportunity to oppose CPS’ … foreign policy?
While the crowd of approximately 18,000 supposed CTU
supporters was impressive, not all of them were teachers.UNITE HERE, which represents workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, and airport industries had a contingent.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) whose slogan is "we make America happen" was at the rally. I wonder if they built that?
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) hard at work...
There seemed to be some confusion about what was at stake.
For one thing, unlike Wisconsin Gov.
Scott Walker, Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel has shown no interest in changing the
bargaining process itself.
And the truth is: CTU is bargaining to water down teacher
evaluations, which goes way beyond wages.
There’s no denying the bargaining system is
Will there be a strike?
Will the next contract improve teaching in Chicago
Still too early to say,
but this cannot be a good omen.