Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chicago teachers authorize strike! Come build solidarity & learn about the struggle

UPDATE: 10AM




http://youtu.be/IxVYFm2g9CM

The Chicago Teachers Union is currently on the front lines of a fight to defend public education. On one side the 30,000 members of the CTU have called for a contract that includes fair compensation, meaningful job security for qualified teachers, smaller class sizes and a better school day with Art, Music, World Language and appropriate staffing levels to help our neediest students.

On the other side, the Chicago Board of Education—which is managed by out of town reformers and Broad Foundation hires with little or no Chicago public school experience—has pushed to add two weeks to the school year and 85 minutes to the school day, eliminate pay increases for seniority, evaluate teachers based on student test scores, and slash many other rights.

Teachers, parents and community supporters in Chicago have fought valiantly—marching, filling auditoriums at hearings and parent meetings, even occupying a school and taking over a school board meeting. Most recently, 98 percent of our members voted to authorize a strike. But now we find ourselves facing new opponents—national education privatizers, backed by some of the nation's wealthiest people. They are running radio ads, increasing press attacks, and mounting a PR campaign to discredit the CTU and the benefits of public education.

The signs are being printed, and anyone who thinks Chicago's Bullies-In-Chief are going to settle a reasonable union contract for the city's teachers without a serious strike have no experiences with facing down real bullies. Rahm and the billionaires backing him (the same people who made sure he "earned" $18 million during his years as what he called "Relationship Banking") hate unions (unless we are on our knees in company unions) and still feel they can manipulate the media and the "messaging" against the city's teachers and real public schools.


A discussion featuring a presentation by a Chicago Teachers Union member


Thursday, August 23rd
6:30 p.m.
at The Murphy Institute
25 West 43rd Street, between 5th and 6th avenues
18th Floor, Room C/D


Public schools, teachers and their unions are under attack throughout the country.  The drive to privatize our public schools and strip away teacher protections is only accelerating.   In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled a promised 4% pay raise to Chicago teachers and proposed lengthening the school day by 20% with only a 2% raise.  In addition, Emanuel proposes implementing a merit pay system for teachers--a similar system in Baltimore has led to 60% of teachers receiving unsatisfactory ratings.  In response, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has refused to back down and has shown the power of solidarity, holding large rallies and forging alliances with community members.  The CTU is demanding smaller class sizes, fair pay and a diverse and fulfilling curriculum for Chicago students.  This spring, 90% of all CTU members voted to authorize a strike.  98% of those voting authorized a strike.   

The CTU's campaign has met with some initial success.  Emanuel recently agreed to hire almost 500 teachers, mostly arts, PE and enrichment teachers.  These teachers will be hired from a pool of laid-off, experienced teachers.  The result is that a longer school day will not force teachers to work longer and harder with no compensation.

While this victory is inspiring, the CTU's strike preparations continue, as there has been no agreement on teacher pay, class sizes, merit pay and other important issues.  It is urgent that teachers, parents and community members show our solidarity with CTU.  We also have a lot to learn from CTU's struggle.


Come hear a presentation by a CTU member and help organize solidarity for the Chicago teachers here in NYC!


Stand with CTU!
Sponsored by (list in formation):  Movement of Rank and File Educators, Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence, Coalition for Public Education, Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), Labor Notes, New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE), New York City Labor Against the War, OWS Labor Outreach Committee, Independent Community of Educators (ICE).

Contact nycctusolidarity@gmail.com to help organize the event or to co-sponsor


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