Sunday, June 14, 2015

George Schmidt on Winter Chicago Teacher Strike Possibilities - Warm Socks

I find these bulletins from George immensely illuminating on the goings on in Chicago education. He is not without criticism of the Chicago Teachers Union leadership, even though he remains a supporter. At times he seems to think some of the leaders are not dealing with certain realities. That they go straight to trying to mobilize without doing some essential organizing. I see a lot of that here both in the rulers of the UFT and in the opposition groups, MORE included. But more on that aspect in the future.
CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS AND A STRIKE? The Board of Education is working to stall union work as long as possible. So part of our discussion was about warm socks and the other things we needed for winter striking. Those of us who had been on strike during the winter strikes of the 1970s and 1980s went over how those picket lines had been organized. Unlike the mass strike pickets and marches of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, many strikes were organized carefully, with picket duties organized by the delegates, and not everyone having to picket every day. The strike, as the union's officers have reported, is about not working, not about picketing and demonstrations. So during a strike the most important thing every worker is doing is what he or she is not doing. Working. 

SCABS NOT POSSIBLE. Despite the crazy claims, always a part of the pre-strike nonsense, that a Board of Education can organize enough scabs to keep schools open. During the last strike, the members of SEIU Local 73, led by Christine Boardman, crossed our picket lines and went to "work." Even though there were no kids in the buildings by the third day. We will report on and discuss the back and forth stuff that takes place during a strike. But rest assured, no strike in Chicago can be busted by the Board of Education's hiring of scabs, and within two days the scabs who tried to "open" the schools will have faced the wrath of the children and parents who go inside the buildings.
 --- George Schmidt, Bulletin to Substance staff, June 14, 2015

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