Thursday, May 16, 2013

Closing Schools: 3 Day March in Chicago Plus Lee Sustar Analysis

Above, left to right, Al Ramirez, CORE co-chairman, Kristine Mayle, CTU Financial Secretary, Karen Lewis, CTU Preisdent, Michael Brunson, CTU Recording Secretary, Jesse Sharkey, CTU Vice President, and Nate Goldbaum, CORE co-chair. Substance photo by Howard Heath.
Three years ago at this time all these guys were teaching. I really think it takes being in the classroom during the ed deform movement to get people to a stage where they refuse to accept the tenets of ed deform, as our leaders at the AFT and the UFT have done so readily. I know Al and Kristine from hanging out with them in LA in 2009 and have gotten to know the others over the years.

I'm doing a lot on the Chicago story because it has so much relevance for all teachers. Their union election is tomorrow in the schools (so unlike here - some people think it is a reason they have a higher turnout but also an opportunity for a party like Unity to cheat --- but then again how much more can they win by?) Also retirees don't vote.

The action against the closing of 54 schools begins the next day with a 3-day march. While it is clear Emanuel was going to close many schools no matter what, some of our Unity Caucus slug-like comments tried to paint the closings in this light: see what you get for being militant rather than "cooperative" like we are?

They filed suit over the closing schools. Here are reports from anti-CTU press (Times, Sun-Times).

Well the Unity-like opposition to CORE ran the union into the ground as was pointed out by Jim Vail in our posts last night. (Critic Endorses CORE and Lewis in CTU Elections While Trashing AFT and Randi-like Opposition).

I assume CORE is expecting to win. Hopefully BIG. The opposition is such a joke let's hope the CTU members get it. Imagine here in NYC that MORE were to win and Unity comes back in the next election running on a campaign of opposing many of the things they did that caused them to lose in the first place. Like can't you see Unity attack that we didn't eliminate ATRs?
George Schmidt, who will be in NYC for the weekend and we are hanging out Sunday morning for the inside scoop, posted Lee Sustar's analysis from the Socialist Worker on Substance.

CTU election on May 17, 2013 pits CORE against the 'Coalition to Save Our Union'... The issue is who has held the line for Chicago teachers during a year when American Federation of Teachers locals have been in retreat across the USA

I love it when people make the analogy to the failing AFT/UFT strategies. (Just check the outcomes in Washington, Newark, Detroit, NYC, Baltimore, Hartford and pre-CORE Chicago).

Sustar (who I sit with in the press section at AFT conventions and is a delight to chat with as he is so knowledgeable) opens with:
The challengers in the Chicago Teachers Union's (CTU) May 17 elections accuse union President Karen Lewis and the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) leadership of "squandering" last September's strike and giving ground on pay, health care, pensions and seniority.
Lewis and other CTU officials never shied away from addressing the problems in the agreement that ended the nine-day strike. As Lewis often puts it, "It was the contract we could get." But the truth is the Chicago teachers' strike successfully resisted the corporate education reform juggernaut on all the key issues--and strengthened the contract in other areas. 
HERE'S A look at the key issues: Pay
, Job security, Pensions, Health care, Union power in the schools, 
Get the details at Substance.

Chicago Teachers Union
Stand Strong for Our Schools
Our City, Our Schools

The Three-Day March for Educational Justice in Chicago

Our Voice
Saturday, May 18
Sunday,    May 19
Monday,   May 20
Sponsored by Chicago PEACE, GEMCTUSEIU Local 1UNITE-HERE Local 1
The mayor and Board of Education want to destroy 54 school communities. This will be the largest destruction of schools in U.S. history. We need our neighborhood schools and we should all fight together to save them. Join parents, teachers, students, public school workers, clergy, activists and others in the threeday citywide march across the city. They want to divide us. But this is our city, our schools, and together, we’ll use our voice to tell the mayor and the world that we intend to fight back.
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