Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chicago Teachers Give 10-Day Strike Notice, Boston TU to Block New Eval System

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, captured the mood when he said [12], "You come after one of us, you deal with all of us." But the union's policies of collaboration, highlighted earlier in convention proceedings, undermined that call to action.  -- Lee Sustar, Socialist Worker
All union politics is not just local. Many of us have been in regular touch with the Chicago crew at CORE (the 4 year old caucus that runs the CTU now). Sarah Chambers (who we got to hang out with last summer in Chicago) and is on the CORE steering committee was in town for a night 2 weeks ago and some MORE people got together with her for some lunch and a drink. Sarah sent along the photo (jeez I'm fat) with this message:
Things are heating up  here.  The executive board and bargaining team are meeting tomorrow to set a strike date, which we will bring to the house of delegates.
Here is a bunch of news from various sources. It looks like there will be a strike in 10 days. Watch carefully what Randi and the AFT does -- we're hoping for some inside reports if there is any backstabbing.

And let me point out again and again: the best way to defend the school workers in NYC is to build a viable alternative to Unity Caucus. Join MORE.
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Chicago Teachers Union to file 10-day strike notice


The Chicago Teachers Union plans to file a 10-day strike notice later today, meaning a teacher walkout could begin after the majority of the city’s students finish their first week of school, sources said.  -- Read more


Lee Sustar who writes for The Socialist Worker gives us some great background. I sat with Lee in the press section at the 2010 and 12 AFT conventions and he has deep insight, especially his analysis of the AFT convention and just how far Randi will go to support the CTU which is acting so counter to what she has been preaching. (See my blog from yesterday - Will Randi and AFT Join Rahm Emanuel in End Run Around Chicago Teachers Union?
Chicago teachers draw a line

Lee Sustar looks at the battle shaping up in the Chicago Public Schools--and the national implications for teachers and the struggle for public education.
 
That question looms large--not just for the city's teachers, students and their parents, but for the entire labor movement. Because while both private- and public-sector unions are taking a pounding across the U.S. with layoffs, pay cuts and pension rollbacks, the CTU is gearing up for a showdown with America's most politically connected mayor, Rahm Emanuel--and it will come to a head in September.

At a time when most union officials are shamefacedly selling concessions as "the best we can do," Chicago teachers are defiant. Just ask anyone who encountered the giant inflatable rat that accompanied the spirited CTU picket outside the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offices August 22 a few hours before a school board meeting.
 .....

That question looms large--not just for the city's teachers, students and their parents, but for the entire labor movement. Because while both private- and public-sector unions are taking a pounding across the U.S. with layoffs, pay cuts and pension rollbacks, the CTU is gearing up for a showdown with America's most politically connected mayor, Rahm Emanuel--and it will come to a head in September.

At a time when most union officials are shamefacedly selling concessions as "the best we can do," Chicago teachers are defiant. Just ask anyone who encountered the giant inflatable rat that accompanied the spirited CTU picket outside the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offices August 22 a few hours before a school board meeting.
 ........
In recent weeks, the CTU has been holding public meetings in neighborhoods around the city to receptive audiences. Community alliances forged by CORE to fight an earlier round of school closings years ago laid the basis for a strong CTU alliance with key community organizations in African American and Latino communities. A CTU float at this year's Gay Pride march got big cheers. The union has also backed the effort by Communities Organized for Democracy in Education [10] to replace Emanuel's handpicked school board with an elected one.
........
WHILE THE CTU is resolved to do what it takes to win--including a strike--questions remain over the role of its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

The AFT convention in Detroit held in July gave a powerful statement of solidarity for its members in Chicago. Delegates also gave backing to AFT teachers in Douglas County, Ariz., where school authorities have imposed a contract on the union, as well as Detroit, where an emergency financial manager unilaterally cut pay by 10 percent on top of previous rounds of concessions and job losses.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, captured the mood when he said [12], "You come after one of us, you deal with all of us."

But the union's policies of collaboration, highlighted earlier in convention proceedings, undermined that call to action.

For example, the AFT affiliate in Cleveland worked with anti-union Republican Gov. John Kasich to craft a contract eliminating seniority protection in layoffs [13] while backing legislation that allows charter schools to compete with traditional schools for taxpayer dollars. Instead of pointing to the agreement as a disastrous setback, AFT President Randi Weingarten portrayed it as a gain in her opening speech. [14]

In fact, Weingarten, who two years ago proposed a strategic retreat for the union by announcing a partnership with school reformers like Bill Gates, now finds herself presiding over a rout of the union in some of its historic bastions, such as Philadelphia [15], where the mayor and school officials are in the process of turning over the entire school system to academic institutions and charter school management organizations.

As a result, the convention proceedings veered between sober recognition of the scale of the assault and the high-production videos and feel-good presentations typical of U.S. unions at their stage-managed meetings--crowding out any lengthy discussion of the major issues facing teachers.

READ LEE'S ENTIRE PIECE HERE.


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Solidarity Message to Chicago Teachers Union from French Teachers' Union Federation FNEC FP FO
Dear Colleagues,

We just became acquainted of your present struggle for public education against privatization and for your rights.
We would like you to know that our federation, the FNEC FP FO, completely support your claims and the ones you underline in particular:
-for employment safety,
-Against extension of working days and school periods,
-Against teacher’s evaluation based on students’ and pupils’ results. We have moreover read with great interest in a 31th july statement of the International Education Committee that this was more and more rejected all over the United States.
-For the protection of the trade unions , of the trade union rights ,of the rights to strike and for the rights to negociate.

We are facing in France the same issues : almost 13 000 teaching posts are to be suppressed for school beginning in a few days and this we can’t accept .
We just succeeded together -with almost all trade unions- to have the teachers’ evaluation suppressed , which would have put an end to our collective guarantees in terms of careers and salary progressions, in order to introduce indivilualization and promotion on merit.
The new minister wants to start discussions on this matter, he also started a concertation to review our status and all our guarantees in this range. It is out of question for us to change anything and that is why we are being careful.

Together with our confederation cgt-FO, we insist on keeping our independence against any governments, this guarantees the best defense for our claims.
The European Union insists on having ratified a treaty that has already caused wreaks in Greece and Spain: wages lowered, massive unemployment, and drastic cuts in education and health budgets.
Our government wants to propose the ratification of this treaty to the deputes and senators at the beginning of October.
With our confederation, our federation has statued against this ratification and denounces the austerity plans and the structural adjustment plans imposed by the IMF, the EU and the ECB to the governments.
The workers in the education sector and in all sectors do not have to “share the efforts” in order to reduce a debt that is not theirs; on the other hand, the trade unions do not have to cope with the austerity plans.

Therefore we wish you full success with your struggle and the strike you’re preparing with 98% of the teachers in Chicago;
Education is an imprescriptible right , stop the suppression of the teachings posts , stop the dismissals, stop schools’ closing, and privatization, respect of the statuses and of the collective conventions…
Respect of all social achievements
Respect of the trade unions rights, of trade unions, respect of the right to strike and of all rights defined by the conventions and decisions of the ILO.

Cordialement,
Hubert Raguin, secrétaire général
Jacques Paris, secrétaire fédéral chargé du secteur international

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Boston Teachers Union says it will block new evaluation system
The Boston Teachers Union notified the School Department today that it intends to block a unilateral implementation of a new teacher-evaluation system for this school year, the latest flashpoint in the increasingly contentious negotiations over a new contract.
In a letter to the School Department, the union’s attorney Matthew E. Dwyer said school officials lacked the legal authority to impose the new system on Sept. 4 without reaching an agreement with the union.
“We are dismayed that BPS is abandoning the statutory process in favor of unilateral action,” Dwyer wrote.
Dwyer cited a state law that requires school districts to negotiate changes in workplace conditions, such as new procedures for job reviews, with the union. If the School Department proceeds, he said, the union intends to raise the issue with the state Department of Labor Relations as part of a complaint it filed that accuses the city of using unfair labor practices in the contract talks.
The letter comes two weeks after Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that the School Department would unilaterally implement a new teacher evaluation system for this fall, having failed to reach agreement with the union on the issue.
The School Department quickly responded today to the union’s objections, firing off a letter of its own. The department said that a Supreme Judicial Court ruling in 1983 enables public employers to unilaterally implement a change in working conditions after the parties have reached an impasse on a contract.
The School Department says it must implement a new evaluation system based on changes to state regulations last year for this school year.
“The School Department remains committed to implementing the regulations with a process that is consistent with the regulations, easy to understand and that does not compromise the evaluator’s authority to determine the content and duration of an educator’s plan” for improvement, wrote Brendan M. Greene, a School Department attorney.
The union and the city have been negotiating a new contract for two years. The talks have gone so badly that the Department of Labor Relations announced Monday that it would investigate the dispute and recommend a resolution – honoring a request made by Menino.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot imagine that Randi &Co would allow a strike to take place 6 weeks before Obama's education. Emmanuel and Chicago make this more than a teachers strike from their perspective so they will pull out all stops. Yet, I would love to see the CTU prevail over the reformers and the leadership from the unions their mates in this destruction of public education..

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