“I’ve worked for Chicago Public Schools for 24 years as a technology coordinator for the majority of that time and was in the union for most of that time.”

“I have the best job. I work with technology, which is constantly changing, and I love how kids all know about new technology. Having conversations with them about what they’re doing with devices is really amazing. My job is great.”

“The union has not been very helpful for me. One time I was working at an elementary school and 19 of us tried to file a grievance. The union representative in the school told me she only took grievances from teachers, not us educational support personnel, so she refused to take it.”

“I called the union and was told the representative has to take it, but I explained that she’s refusing to. The grievance was [eventually] knocked out because it wasn’t done at the school level – it’s just crazy. You can’t get union help when you need it.”

“I realized it wasn’t worth the fight with the union because I wasn’t going to win.”

“In the 2012 strike, I didn’t want to walk the picket line, but the administrator asked me to because everyone else was and he wasn’t sure if they could protect me if I refused. I didn’t know what else to do, so I went on strike.”

“When the most recent strike came around, I felt like I should be the one making the decision, so I said, ‘Forget it.’ I wasn’t going to strike.”

“The strike happened, and I got a text from the strike captain asking me where I was. I ignored it because I was in the building, working.”

“The second day he texted me again, but I had just read about the Illinois Policy Institute and thought, ‘How awesome – I can leave the union!’”

“I filled out the paperwork and an email was sent to CPS saying I didn’t want to be in the union anymore. I informed the strike captain and he thanked me for letting him know.”

“The next day when I pulled into school, there were people watching me from the corner. I didn’t know what was going to happen but there were security cameras, so I felt safe. Apparently, they just wanted to prove that I was going into the building.”

“I received a letter from the union saying I was accused of strike-breaking since I was in the building during the strike. They were going to hold a hearing about it, and I emailed back asking if I could bring an attorney with me. They never responded.”

“I went [to the hearing] out of curiosity and told them what I really thought. They sat me next to the president of the union to question me in front of 30 to 40 people. I admitted that I had crossed the picket line and was not interested in being in the union.”

“I was so nervous. I was afraid to bring my car [to the hearing] because there was an outside lot and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, so I actually had someone drop me off and wait for me.”

“They asked me, ‘Don’t you think we work better in numbers?’ I said that hadn’t been the case for me and explained my past grievance and that the union hadn’t helped me very much. I’m fine standing on my own.”

“Of course, I was found guilty of strike breaking and was kicked out of the union. If I wanted to come back, I would have to pay back the 11 days of the strike I got paid for. I’m not paying that back.”

“They’ve continued to take union dues out and they [were] supposed to stop in August – since apparently they can only stop dues during one month of the year.”

“I ended up filing a lawsuit against CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union because they continued to take the dues out. I didn’t want to involve CPS, but I had to.”

“I’m very glad I’m not in the union anymore because this has been bothering me for many, many years.”

Joanne Troesch
Crestwood, Illinois