Chicago Teachers Union Sellout

September 17th, 2012

Published on Global, by Stephen Lendman (see him also on World People’s Blog), September 16, 2012.

It’s in the air.  Union bosses and city officials struck a deal. A previous article headlined Capitulation in Chicago?Final details aren’t known, but bet on it. It’s baked in the cake. By the time this article circulates, it may be official. It practically is now. Unions in Chicago and across America ill represented rank-and-file members for decades. Corporate and government negotiators know it. Beating labor means staying hardline and waiting them out. They’ll cave like they always do. 

Months of discussions produced stalemate. On September 10, teachers walked out. Board of Education (BoE) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials spurned them on core issues. Resolving them in five days reveals sellout.

Saving public education is key. It’s a fundamental right. It’s on the chopping block for elimination. Commodifying it as another business profit center is planned.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hellbent on doing it. Doing so means placing bottom line priorities over teaching and learning.

Schools aren’t businesses. Education isn’t a product. It’s a bedrock societal obligation. Keeping it out of profiteer hands is essential. Teachers are on their own to save it. It’s also up to them to preserve their jobs with decent pay and benefits, as well as futures for Chicago kids.

Union bosses think sacrificing what’s too important to lose doesn’t matter as long as their welfare is secure. There’s still a chance to beat them. Grassroots efforts alone can do it. Final contract terms aren’t approved.

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) president Karen Lewis wants House of Delegates approval fast. They’re the CTU’s governing body. Members elect them. They number over 700. Every city school is represented.

All union members have final say. Tallying their votes will take days. Once strike action ends and classes resume, it’ll be too late to say no deal. Saying it now crucial. Later won’t matter. Perhaps 24 hours means the difference between victory and defeat.

On September 15, the Chicago Tribune headlined “Tentative deal reached with striking Chicago teachers,” saying:

Contract terms are agreed on. A tentative deal was struck. A City Hall source said school officials and union bosses reached a “framework with all points resolved.”

Lewis revealed her duplicity. She’s “very comfortable” with terms. “We think it’s a framework that will get us to an agreement.” She didn’t explain what’s in it, and most important what’s not.

“Creative thinking” was involved, she claimed. “They thought about some stuff, and we thought about some stuff.”

Education isn’t “stuff.” It’s teaching, learning, and preparing kids effectively to move on for more of the same through graduation … //

… Up-to-date textbooks are essential. So are manageable class sizes. Striking teachers aren’t “aliens dropped among us, selfish and dumb and duped by their union bosses. They’re hardworking Chicagoans…” They take great pride in their work.

They want and deserve “schools they can believe in and be proud of, schools where they can do their job right. They want it for themselves and for their students.”

Now the part they won’t like. “They have to call of this strike.” It’s baked in the cake, of course. Unless grassroots displeasure balks its sellout terms, classes will resume Monday.

“They’ve already gained” enough, said the Sun Times. “There are serious doubts as to whether the city can even afford” concessions made.

What’s lost matters most. No matter. The “city must hold the line…”

“As we said, this is an editorial sure to please almost no one….we believe this strike is wrong.”

Sun Times editorial writers don’t care about what’s most important. Nor do Tribune bosses. Neither mentioned public education, its importance, and how Emanuel plans destroying a societal bedrock.

Remember those teachers “who made us what we are today,” said the Sun Times. At the same time, it forgot what’s most important and why it matters. (full text).

(Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached here. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War.” Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. Progressive Radio News Hour).

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