Strike Vote Countdown

Today's news is really just an extension of Friday's news -- that CTU is going to start a strike vote on Wednesday, how that's going to work, and whether they should or not.  For what it's worth, I have nothing against CTU calling the vote (or CPS decrying it).  I'm not sure what I'd do if I were a rank and file teacher, however, given the possibility that CTU could then call a strike even after winning concessions from CPS.  Do I trust my delegate?  And of course as a parent or observer, I'd just want the two sides to figure something out and get on with the business of making CPS better.  Think differently?  Let us know.

Brizard says teachers union should avoid strike vote Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said the teachers union should not be focused on a strike vote because negotiations with the district remain in progress. Brizard spoke to a group of parents at a South Side ...

Strike authorization vote to start Wednesday Catalyst:  Any final decision on a walkout would be made by the union’s House of Delegates. By law, though, that can’t happen until after an independent fact-finding panel has recommended a settlement and publicized its findings. The panel’s findings are due in mid-July.

Brizard: Strike authorization vote disrespects teachers WBEZ:  None of the contract proposals put forward by CPS or the Chicago Teachers Union have been made public yet.CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said that’s why the union should wait to take a strike authorization vote."What are they voting on?" Brizard said.

Teachers Union to start strike-authorization voting Wednesday Sun Times: Chicago Teachers Union officials said Friday they will ask their members starting Wednesday to vote to authorize a strike, to “send a signal” about how unhappy they are with the terms of a proposed five-year contract.

Chicago Public Schools reaches deal with Service Employees International Sun Times:  The proposed three-year contract with the SEIU includes a “reasonable wage increase” and an assurance that no more union jobs would be outsourced, said SEIU Local 73 Vice President Taalib-Din Ziyad about Sunday’s announcement.

Anti-prostitution effort targets high school boys Chicago Tribune: Probst, an actor who conducted some of the study interviews, has presented "Empowering Men to End Sexual Exploitation" to 1155 students at 13 Chicago Public Schools and charter schools since 2010.

Quinn in Push for Pensions Bond Buyer:  Currently, only Chicago Public Schools is responsible for the public share of teacher payments. The cost shift to schools ran afoul of Republicans and Quinn reversed course on Wednesday and asked Madigan to drop the provision.

Jabari Parker tells students to focus on education Tribune:  A 17-year-old Mormon was an unlikely selection as a guest speaker for a Catholic school's eighth-grade commencement ceremony, but students and parents at St. Sabina Academy in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood said the choice was a slam dunk.

Wanted: Non-Traditional Students for AP Classes ChicagoNow:  To our district's credit, Chicago Public Schools continues working to increase minority enrollment and teachers' preparation for these classes. Having qualified teachers for these non-traditional students is a whole other challenge that needs serious


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  • All CTU members must vote to strike on Wednesday!

  • There is very little information avaiable on the agreement SEIU Local 73 has reached with CPS. But with this agreement and the lunchroom workers agreement I think it is fair to say that any strategy relating to common bargaining frameworks for unionized CPS workers has failed.

    But one big reason an agreement could be reached with UNITE and SEIU was because reaching an argreement was not tied up with the SB7 law that makes rational bargaining very difficult as I have repeatedly pointed out.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    You're wrong about this. All CPS labor relationships are tied up with SB7. SEIU and UNITE-HERE are subject to SB7.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I think you are correct I was wrong in what I wrote. The IL Educational Labor Relations Act definition of "exclusive representative of employees" does apply to both SEIU and UNITE workers.

    But some of the 4.5 provisions of SB7 cannot really apply to hourly workers in the many different pay grades they are clearly aimed at salaried employees.

    But from what is public of the bargaining between these unions and CPS it seems that the CPS opened up some section 4.5 issues for discussions with both of these unions. But I have seen neither of the new agreements.

    I have to assume the strike vote provisions would apply but I would be interested to hear what SEIU's President Boardman's opinion was on that issue. I do not recall that she was in Springfield when this bad law was written and argeed to by the CTU, IFT, and IEA.

    Rod Estvan

  • Alexander, you are again spreading misinformation about the union strike procesdures when you say, "I'm not sure what I'd do if I were a rank and file teacher, however, given the possibility that CTU could then call a strike even after winning concessions from CPS. Do I trust my delegate?"

    While a strike authorization vote does give the union House of Delegates the power to declare a strike without a further strike vote, teachers must still vote to reject the final CPS contract proposal before that strike can happen. This is not a 75% vote but a simple majority of union members. And, as I understand it, it is a majority of voting members, not total membership.

    Although you claim that you "have nothing against CTU calling the vote" by putting this particular vote-influencing falsehood out there the week of the strike authorization vote, you make it very hard to believe in your objectivity.

    I realize from previous incidents that you don't correct your errors much, don't apologize, and--especially when your error or misinformation is against the union--are willing to help spread some rather outrageous false claims. You are in a position of responsibility and you should take the question of credibility a little more seriously. Like Emmanuel, you may find that your brand may prosper in the short run, but be damaged over the long haul by a failure to attend to such little things as credibility.

  • thanks for the comments -- happy to correct if i got it wrong -- where does it say in SB7 or via CTU that there would be a second rank and file vote? all i've seen is that the second vote would be HOD.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    First, let me say that I have already conducted two mock strike polls at my school--and I wouldn't have done so if I were timid about a strike.

    And yet, I don't understand why some commenters (e.g, Xian Barrett, chicago) are saying there must be a second rank and file vote. There is nothing in either SB7 (as it should be) nor the CTU Constitution and Bylaws that requires any such thing.

    The strike authorization vote set for this week is the members giving the leadership the authority to call a strike. The House of Delegates, by the way, may only make a advisory vote--and since the Membership will have spoken, there is no need for the HOD's advice after the fact. The Constitution & Bylaws gives the HOD the power to set the date for a strike that has been authorized.

    What Karen and Jesse have been saying is that the authorization to strike doesn't necessarily mean there will be a strike. The hope is that the threat of strike will be enough for the Mayor to begin bargaining in good faith (rather than just dictating terms).

    This is the time, however, for solidarity among our membership. The question for me isn't if I trust my Union leadership. It's who I trust more--my Union or the Mayor and his appointed Board. And I don't hesitate to tell you that I side with my Union.

  • from CPS:

    "This week’s vote is a member vote; it would give authorization to the HOD and leadership to strike. To characterize it as not being a strike vote is misleading because this is the last step before a strike."

    anyone from CTU or with a link want to agree or disagree?

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    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Yeah, it's a complete fabrication like most of what CPS has put out there. To me, this is the best reason to push toward a strike--we need CPS governance that is honest and collaborative to work for what is best for kids.

    If they continue to waste our time, resources and energy misleading people for their own political gain, then we have no choice but to move toward strike action.

    I think all of us would rather than CPS stop their political posturing and come to the table saying, "We are abandoning all of our crony contracts and failed political initiatives. We are here to ask what students, parents and communities really need, and what we can do to help educators provide those things to our students." If they did so, and then followed through genuinely, there would be no chance of a strike and within a couple years, we would have the best school system in the country.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Alex, please go to the CTU website. All the information that you are looking for is located there. Thanking you in advance. P.S.- the CTU will get the 75% or higher vote.

  • Between corrupt politician trying to cut our pensions and the Rahm Brizard total fiasco, my school is voting 100 percent for the strike authorization! There is no hemming and hawing on the multiple reasons why we need to vote for a strike authorization.

    What is up with Brizard looking dumb telling the media that CTU is disrespecting the teachers. No one believes that, other than Rahm! Dumb! I think he must have to swallow his saliva to say that gibberish. I would like to know who wrote that piece of drivel!

  • Sharkey confirms that members vote on contract before strike. CTU constituion and by-laws art VI, sec. 1, para. 3: Action by the House to authorize a strike or accept or reject a partial or final collective bargaining agreement shall be advisory only and in both instances shall be subject to a final, direct vote of the regular members.

  • In reply to chicago:

    So this is totally misleading.

    What the vote this week will do is give the leadership unfettered discretion to call a strike regardless of what the Board puts on the table. So theoretically CPS could offer 23% instead of Lewis' 24% and, if the membership authorizes the strike this week, Lewis could take them out on strike. There is nothing in the constitution and by-laws that compels her to submit that offer to the membership for a vote. She could strike for the extra 1% and the membership will have no further say in the matter.

    And if that doesn't scare you, remembers were talking about the educator who made fun of -- actually mimiced - people with lisps and stutters in front of a camera. Discretion and good judgment are not her strongest traits.

    Lotsa luck with this. .

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear district299reader, you are wrong! Please go to the CTU website to find the correct information. Thanking you in advance.

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    In reply to district299reader:

    yup you're kind of right...Karen Lewis has had some embarassing moments...

    Where you are REALLY wrong is that if your weird scenario would ever happen, it would be the fault of CPS for putting out just as embarasssing (and super insulting) offer of a 2% raise. If they did goto a 23% rasie then the teachers should still strike on the principle alone of an insulting offer of 2% that ended up going to arbitration.

    You forgot to mention which of the Mayor's or CPS staff do you clearly work for.

    ATENNTION TEACHERS: Authorize a strike! It is the ONLY thing that will bring them back tot he negotiating table.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Actually, I just have a soft spot for people with speech impediments and an instinctive dislike for "educators" who make fun of them.

    Something's wrong in the state of Denmark.

    Good luck in September.

    I hope you've saved enough. This will be a long one and you'll need as much as possible to pay for your health beneifts.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I agree, that was completely out of line and I'm sure most teachers feel the same way. Most of us, would never joke about kids with special needs, even behind closed doors.

    That being said.....I've been saving since day 1. We've been told to be prepared for a long time, and I hope others prepared as well as I have...

    I'm ready to STRIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I'm amused every time I read a comment about our union leaders trying to lead us down some scary path. Obviously people outside of the schools, including the union leadership until very recently, never understood how ready the rank and file have been for over a year to send a very strong message. The real leaders are scattered across hundreds of schools and, while faceless and nameless to leaders on both sides, have been quietly leading this action throughout the school year. Seventy-five percent will be a piece of cake.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Amen! Before SB7 I would have voted happily to decertify the union and keep my $700. But now I am on this blog, pushing my delegate to get the facts out to our colleagues, and calling downtown to urge the semi-competent union leadership to be more aggressive, clear, and vigilant. There is amazingly little direction from the union, to the point that most teachers I know wish there were more leadership in this confusing time.

    To be frank, most of us don't like our union leaders. It does no good for the big money types to vilify them. Karen's flaws are not news to teachers--although Sharkey has been a nice surprise ever since his admirable performance in the face of the Fox News ambush. The thing is that we now realize that the union leaders are the only people who even remotely represent what we know to be true about schools. We are pushing them, not the other way around. This whole thing is being led from behind by people who care about schools--not just teachers, but parents and community-members.

    It might be possible for the people in the Capitol to pick off enough teachers in the districts to prevent a 75% authorization vote, but those are the people who are being led down some path by someone unscrupulous. It's a classic battle between one-on-one conversations among real people, on one hand, and, on the other hand, everything that money can buy.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    WE are the CTU.

    Vote Yes.

  • We NEED 75%. If we don't get it, we'll learn the definition of "screwed."

  • In reply to j007:

    I think you're going off a cliff with Lewis and Sharkey if you authorize it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Hmmm... off a cliff with Lewis and Sharkey or in a bottomless pit with the board... I'll take the cliff any day.

  • In reply to urbanteach:

    The cliff is sounding appealing – besides, those opposed to a strike are only in favor of keeping schools open so that they can later close them 10 or 15 at a time.

    When a contract ends, they scream, “Keep the schools open – it’s no fair to the kids…” As soon as the contract is signed, they scream, “Close the schools; shut them down!”

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I so agree with cliff jumping as opposed to the death-of-a-thousand-cuts that has already begun and will continue at a greater speed but with a duller knife. 75%

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Cliff jumping please.

  • In reply to j007:

    You got that right! I do not know why people are getting all histerical about the teachers taking a strike authorization vote. It does not mean that there will be a definite strike. But nontheless, the teachers need to get the 75% in order to get fair bargaining at the table. You are so right, if teachers do not get the 75%, well things are NOT going to be good for the teachers in the long run, that is for certain.

  • In 2010 at a citywide clinican meeting we were told "save your money, the contract negotiations might get ugly." In 2011 we were told the exact same thing. In 2012 WE ARE READY!! Clinicans, teachers, and paras have been waiting on this moment. At my two buildings there is 100% support for the authorization vote. CPS did not expect the fallout and surely didn't expect CTU to satnd so strong. Wednesday......VOTE TO AUTHORIZE A STRIKE!!!

  • In reply to Avenger:

    75%............Let's do THIS!!!!!!!!!

  • Although it isn't a perfect storm...irony abounds...I left investment banking 15 years ago to teach. "Everyone" was making coin...Rahm held the republicans at bay with his shrewd... tactical... defense of the blue I'm labour...and my strike fund is being bludgeoned by "market" forces. It's June and its time to sell and go away...but I'll vote yes.

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    I hope everyone reads the wealth of misinformation going around, notes where it's coming from and then asks, "Why are they doing this?"

    There is no damage to be done from authorizing a strike. It merely gets around the "teachers are only worth 2/3rds of a person" law that the CPS board, Advance Illinois, Stand for Children, the city leadership and the Business Roundtable demanded. We will still get to use the democratic structures of the union to make our voices and votes heard on the contract (unlike the other side where the people of the city who have exactly zero input to what the board does), we are just far more likely to have a better contract to vote on.

    If someone has a real reason to vote against this, I'm happy to listen thoughtfully. So far, I've just seen lies and power plays for organizations that have done nothing for the kids of the city of Chicago, but have done a ton for the clouted and deep pocketed.

  • CTU Members--many principals and assistant principals are behind you. We have no union and they have been and continue peeling us like onions with no stopping it. JC has been totally disrespectful towards us and you--Example, his mandatory meeting today, which took HOURS to get to and from Chicago State, was nothing but platitudes with no substance. Other than saying Vallas talks a lot, (trying to be funny). There was nothing that guaranteed any support for any power point section presented. It even had grammatical errors! A webinar would have been fine. Since you have someone driving you around, you do not worry about traffic or that you have to leave your school when all the summer bridge letters had to go out today and unhappy parents are waiting to see you, not the CEO. You tell them you cannot meet with them due to the CEO mandatory meeting. You see, NO understanding of what is happening in our schools right now. CEO always says he was a teacher and comes from a family of teachers--well, I bet they would vote on Wednesday to strike! We are sick of the lies and the rip-offs. Good luck these next few days.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Absolutely true! We are behind you 100%. Platitudes and nonsense are being offered in abundance to all the media outlets. We are being hung out to dry! Vote to authorize a strike vote! Let them know that we mean business and aren't going to take it any more. Enough is enough. How many times are we going to get kicked, get up and let them go at us again? ENOUGH! LET THEM KNOW WE MEAN BUSINESS. They need to negotiate, not pretend we are stupid and can not do the math for all the added time (each day) and work (Common Core, new test NWEA, and continuous mandates from the board) I don't want a strike, but I want to be heard!!! I am a PARENT, a TEACHER and I am pissed!! F U Rahm!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear district299reader, what was the reason for this meeting?

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  • CPS teachers shouldn't strike because they are paid well. When you compare their pay with teachers in other large school districts, with how they've been paid historically, with the income of the families whose children they teach, and with the pay of comparably educated Catholic school teachers, CPS teachers come out on top. They're paid more than teachers in the 10 largest school districts. They make more than they've made historically, adjusted for inflation. They make twice the income of most of the families whose children they teach. They're paid twice the salary of Catholic school teachers in Chicago. There's one comparison I've seen where CPS teachers are not the highest paid teachers, and that's with the teachers in wealthy suburbs of Chicago. There are some suburbs whose starting pay for teachers is higher than CPS. But, is that enough to strike over? Is it okay to strike because you don't get significant across-the-board raises on top of some of the highest pay rates in the country? Is the only way to show respect for teachers to support this strike authorization vote?

  • In reply to Paul:

    Trust me, we'll trade $$$ for strong pro-teacher, pro-student contract language.

    However if the Board refuses to give us that language, they better pony up some huge $$$.

    Vote YES.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Paul- It is too little too late. Nobody is buying it. You're just strengthening our resolve. Go back to the Communications Dept. and try to spin the inevitable strike authorization vote.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Hello Paul, the problem is that CPS must compete with suburban districts and private schools for the best teachers, and we don't live in a communist country but in a market economy. Working conditions in CPS are much much more difficult than in any of the comparable schools and within CPS, you have a general migration of talent to a small number of selective enrollment schools, and then there is a leap to administration where salaries are far, far higher than what teachers make.

    I don't think your figures are correct to begin with, but even if they were, the kind of fairness thinking you espouse is a recipe for talent-drain even greater than what we have now. No one would want to work for a company where Marx's dictum reigns--to each according to his need, from each according to his ability. They tried that and it failed miserably in the old USSR and China.

    As a former Catholic school teacher and a current CPS teacher in a 95%+ poverty school, I can tell you that the doubling of my salary was definitely a reason for me to move from one system to the other. And CPS is better off for having me. I admit that I stay here (instead of moving to the suburbs) partly because I hate long commutes and partly because I feel loyal to the City of Chicago and in particular the disadvantaged young people of my community. But loyalty is only one ingredient in the mix, and with working conditions deteriorating rapidly and a growing sense that I am participating in a wholesale criminal enterprise that exploits poor families and young people for the gains of unscrupulous privateers--and with wage reduction pressure on the horizon too--it is increasingly likely that I will end up taking one of the job offers from outside CPS that I have hitherto turned down. And I am not alone. retirements this year are about 40% more than expected. Teachers throughout the system are counting on this upcoming strike to put the brakes on the policies that for two decades have been working to destroy public education in this city. But if that doesn't happen, you will certainly get your fairness, but you won't be getting much in return. And I suspect that you are not among the families who will suffer for that, so your insistence on wage fairness isn't really fair at all, is it?

  • In reply to Donald:

    I'd be interested in whether CPS is having trouble attracting new teachers. If that's true, and low pay level was a factor in those low number of applicants, then I think significant pay increases for teachers would make sense. From what I've heard from the union, that's not a major reason for pursing a strike authorization vote. It's because teachers feel disrespected and belittled. The way to show respect for teachers, as I understand it, is to support calls for a strike and significant pay increases.

    I've got kids in a neighborhood CPS school, and I'm disappointed with the calls for a strike. The choice I have is whether to stick it out and hope that a strike doesn't happen or is short-lived, or move to the 'burbs. I guess that means I won't suffer. I am fortunate in that I have options. I can afford to take a loss on my condo and buy a place in the suburbs. Or, my wife and I could teach our kids at home. We both have Master's degrees and could probably get by for awhile teaching our primary-grade students.

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    In reply to Paul:

    CPS has a terrible time retaining teachers in the toughest schools. That's part of why we are striking. Money is secondary to having working conditions that allow us to provide the consistency that our students need.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Why are you disappointed?

    We are doing this to protect ourselves and our students. We and the vast majority of our students cannot just up and move. The things being inflicted upon us are headed to the suburbs next.

    We are hoping that this move makes the Board actually come to the bargaining table in good faith. This is NOT about money, though we HAVE to say it is. SB 7 and 4.5 tie our hands and prevent us from advocating for our students.

    Furthermore, when you dig deeper, you'll start to find that all of these financial crises are just lies with numbers. Rahm's people continually fail to justify their claims, calling statistics more of an art than a science.

    We want language that respects experience in the classroom. We teachers know that for the first 5 years of your career are your weakest, but the Board wants to be able to fire us as we "get expensive."

    We want language to ensure that all students get an excellent education that includes art, music, and a foreign language. We want schools to have counselors to help our students who are dealing with stresses you and I couldn't have dreamed of in elementary school. We want to stop the proliferation of tests. As a math teacher, I spent no joke, 10% of my student contact time giving Board mandated tests this year. It's not just the ISAT. It's NWEA. It's the Algebra Exit Exam. It's the Explore Test. It's the Common Core Test. There might be one more I'm forgetting about. We take test after test. Why? If you want to know how my students are doing, ask me. I can tell you. It's a way to siphon money out of the system and into a corporation's hands.

    They owe us 4% from last year. That's non-negotiable. They need to give us some more to cover the rising cost of healthcare, just so we can stand still. You're increasing our on the clock time, so we should be paid for that.

    We're really not asking for all that much.

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    I'm disappointed because the ultimate threat you are making, and the final card you are playing, is to not educate my children. As a parent who wants his children to get a good public education, I'm disappointed in the extreme measures you're taking given your actual situation.

    I don't understand how being the highest paid teachers in the country on most measures is not enough. Apparently, you should be the highest paid teaches on all measures. On top of that, you should be further compensated because it's a difficult job. But, then, somehow pay doesn't really matter. it's insane.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Paul, you have certainly taken the bait that CPS-Brizard-Emaunuel have put out there through their corporate media outlets. Let me educate you on what the "pay" in CPS really breaks down to:
    I have worked for CPS for 15 years. I have a Master's degree + 15, so I am paid at the top of lane IV. I no longer am eligible to receive a raise unless it is for cost-of-living increases. It looks GREAT on paper -- somewhere around 85K per year.
    However, that is NOT what I take home every two weeks. After deductions, my take-home pay is $900 a week. As a teacher who has a family, I pay extra for my family's medical insurance, put a little extra into retirement (a good idea since our pensions are now on the chopping block), along with taxes, union dues and the like. I am not driving around in a Mercedes. After all that is taken out, I am getting paid under 50K a year. So -- why do I do it? (especially when a co-worker hired 2 years ago just got a position in the suburbs and will now make more than I do, with less responsibility and better support systems. Makes me think about making the jump myself.) But here's the thing: I care deeply about the work I do with inner-city children, and I'm not in this job for the money. What you don't realize is that SB7 has forced contract negotiations to ONLY be about money. CPS doesn't have to negotiate on ANYTHING else -- unless they choose to. They hold the chips, not us. What the teachers are hoping to accomplish is to open up other areas of the contract for negotiation. The only way to do it is to put a strike possibility on the table -- if we don't then we will continue the dance of the 2% and merit pay vs. the (alleged) 30% forever. What I want to see a contract that provides some educational autonomy instead of continued dictates from a district that no longer employs people who have ever worked in a school. What is a raise going to get me? 2% is a joke, and anything under 10% isn't going to do much to help my bottom line. Merit pay is not an answer (but that's what CPS wants), a longer unfunded day is not an answer (but that's what CPS wants) -- I could go on and on. But without the 75% vote, we have ZERO leverage at the bargaining table, period. I don't want a strike, either, but if we don't stand up for ourselves to fight for what will work best for our schools and our students, who will? We might not get much with a strike, but without its threat we get NOTHING. Since you are a parent, who sends your students into our care daily, you should be very concerned about how corporations are using your children to make money for themselves, which has never been the purpose of a public education. You should be asking what the purpose of all the mandated testing is for, and who is making $$ off of all of these assessments? You should be asking who is going to supervise your kids during recess. You should be demanding that your students are given a well-rounded education, and not just more seat time for reading and math drills to prep for another for-profit test. You should demand that your children are in smaller classrooms so the teacher has time to give them individualized attention. Stop drinking the kool-aid of corporate media talking points and start reading the independent news about what is happening around this country to public education before you start assuming that all we are about as educators is a better paycheck. What you need to do is get behind our backs, because at the end of the day, it is about YOUR CHILDREN.

  • In reply to deskjockey:

    I never understand how a teacher making the point about how they don't care about money always starts off discussing how low their pay is. Your description of how your salary looks great on paper but after deductions is not that great, is true for every other middle class person in this country. My salary also looks great on paper, but after deductions for healthcare, taxes, retirement contributions etc., is lower.

    If you don't want a strike, my advice is not to vote for the strike authorization. I know there are many things about education and about justice and peace in the world that you would like to change. But, I would not make those your reasons for authorizing a strike. If you vote for that, and the union strikes, then you're responsible for it. It's not the mayor and the corporations and the testing companies, it's the teachers.

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    In reply to Paul:

    Dear Paul,

    You want to talk about real world? 30% more responsibility for 2% more compensation? That's real world. That's insulting.

    ATTENTION TEACHERS- Autorize a Strike! Only way to make them negotiate in good faith.

  • In reply to Paul:

    RIGHT ON PAUL! I am a parent, and I completely agree with everything you have stated. The strike is based on emotion and that is childish and irrational. It does my child no good. It seriously puts my childs education for next year at risk. It will not improve education. Everyone is thumping their chest about the children, but it is so transparent that it is about being paid more. The ctu is putting out a bunch of buzzwords to sound caring, but that is not what they are negotiating about. This entire call to strike is making me lose respect for teachers---and I used to have an abundance of respect. No more. Screw the teachers!

  • In reply to Paul:

    WRONG ON PAUL! I am a parent, and I completely disagree with almost everything you have stated. The lack of authorization vote would give ALL the power to the non-educator dicktators that weren't democratically elected and allow them to do as they wish. We already know what they wish. THAT- seriously puts my child's education for next year at risk. Boy oh Boy I REALLY WANT A DISGRUNTLED TEACHER testing, I mean testing, I mean teaching my child!! If you are thumping your chest about children, please thump it about mine. The teachers, and my child, will learn the definition of "screwed" if 75% is not obtained. Solidarity.

  • In reply to Paul:

    With all due respect, Paul, no one wants a strike. But you don't have to look very far to see what is going on. Most people outside the system don't have a grasp of the chaos that is being unleashed at every level of the system. I still go to work and do my very best for your children every day and I try not to disappoint you no matter how much extra clerical work, unfunded mandates, conflicting orders, threats, and constraints get thrown at me and my principal and colleagues. It isn't about teachers feeling a lack of respect, although Emmanuel overplayed his hand very badly when he erroneously believed that SB7 had created a strike-proof situation. The strike is about whether I will finally be unable to do the real job--teaching your children. I don't know why there are still people who fail to see this. Teachers are considering the enormous sacrifices and risks of striking for the sake of your children.

  • In reply to Donald:

    Teachers want more money. CPS wants to get the best deal it can. Simple. No need to ascribe motives to or demand sacrifices from either side. It is a negotiation over salary. The laws of supply and demand and the economic condition of Illinois are the drivers here.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    If you think this conflict is ultimately about money you are woefully misinformed.

  • In reply to Donald:

    Donald, how dare you imply that parents do not know the chaos of cps. We live it too! ON TOP of the conflicting messages you talk about, parents have to live with it impacting their kids PLUS having to deal with some teachers who are horrible, abusive and meniacle to our children. Yes, some teachers are good, but the fact that your union protects the worst teachers in the system---and you all stand together---reflects poorly on ALL teachers.

    Parents completely understand the chaos of cps and have more than teachers to deal with. YET, we do not have an option to blindly vote for a strike.

    Cut the bull, you are not weighing the options for my children, you are weighing the options for yourself. At least be honest about it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You really do not know the chaos that teachers have to deal with. I understand where you are coming from as I am a parent myself, but I also can definitely see where the teachers are coming from too. I am married to a teacher and believe me, you have NO clue of all the work that goes into being a teacher. Teachers DO care about the children. But that does not mean that teachers have to lay down and be walked all over either. The teachers have a right to stand up for themselves and for the respect they deserve. They are not being treated with respect nor dignity. They are being asked to do the impossible. They are being asked to work miracles it seems! Imagine having a class of over 30 students whom you are responsible for, in which you have to make sure these children pass certain tests no matter the circumstance. If all the students do not show progress or exceed on these tests, the fault will lay with the teacher. Does that sound fair to you??? Teachers can only do so much. The parents have to start getting involved with their children more and make sure they are exhibiting good study habits at home. Unfortunately, this is not the case in every home. How the heck is a teacher suppose to fair in circumstances like this in which they have no control???

    Yes, there are some bad teachers out there, I will agree with that. Most teachers are good and very hardworking though. They far out number the bad. You have to get one thing straight, just because the teachers are talking strike does not mean they do not care about the students. Teachers like every other human being out there in any other work force have a right to fight for respect and to be treated fairly period..

  • In reply to Donald:

    Do not ever think the suburbs get the best teachers
    that is an urban myth.The best teachers are in the schools
    where nobody ,except them, cares to work .
    Most suburbs pay more but that isn't reflected in their
    students test scores.Those of us who served the broken
    children of Chicago stand above any other teachers.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    I disagree. We are all brothers and sisters. We, the 99%, must stand together and stop playing their games. They, the 1%, continue to try to divide us. Divide and conquer is real and works incredibly well. We all have it tough. None of us face the same stresses, but we all face equal stresses.

    If they keep us focused on each other we lose sight of who is really doing the oppressing.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Unfortunately Paul, that is all we can bring to the bargaining table. We cannot negotiate classroom size (how many pupils), resources, the length of day or year, or even what we can do with it.
    SB7 only allows us to negotiate salary. So it may look like we are only wanting more money, but in reality it goes much deeper than that, we just legally can't do anything about it.

  • Teachers have taken a beating for the past 12 months from the mayor and the new administration. No raise, no respect to the existing contract and no input from teachers. They would be foolish not to empower themselves with leverage that comes with the 75% yes vote. Then they might get a respectful percentage. Make no mistake, the teachers have the power. Voting yes is using that power. Not necessarily to strike but to use the leverage.

  • Headache299


  • Matt Farmer again and again!

  • Thanks sooooo much Paul!! Your rhetoric inspires me to VOTE YES!! You just don't know how much people like you actually fuel the fire. It's all the more reason why we will get the 75% vote. Keep it up!! and thanks!!

  • The active apartheid policies against the poorest neighborhoods and the promise of MORE testing with Common Core is enough to vote for the authorization.
    The explicit red lining of schools and starving the neediest schools, which are neighborhood schools is criminal.
    We know that Rahm and corporate patrons have ONE aim, bust the union.
    Brizard hires a portfolio chief, not to identify and support schools based on their needs but to close and privatize schools. As we have seen nationally, charters are in trouble.

    Yes to Strike Authorization!

  • Aside my personal beliefs that this strike will adversely affect my children and that CPS teachers are already paid well, does anybody think that a strike might play into the Mayor's hands? I know many of you think that the Mayor's plan is to privatize and charterize much of the school system. Couldn't a teacher strike risk building public support for that?
    I'm not a fan of charters. I don't think they have a good track record of outperforming traditional public schools. But it seems to me that a dysfunctional and protracted contract negotiation and a teacher strike would cause some people to say that the traditional public school model should be overhauled and more charter schools should be brought in.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Regardless of whether we strike or not, the Mayor has made it abundantly clear that he wants more charter schools. But for the same reason you don't think charters do the job, I would tell you (again) that as a parent with children in the schools, you have "skin in the game" as well. There are a lot of parents who have woken up and said "why aren't our schools providing more?" "Why doesn't my school have a library?" "Why isn't TIF money being spent to improve our schools?"-- these are GREAT questions and ones that more parents need be asking our politicians. Go read PURE and Raise Your Hand to see what parents who are invested in the politics of education are doing. Join some parents and get involved in fighting for your children's educational rights, just as we are trying to do on our side of the table.

  • In reply to deskjockey:

    When my children became school aged, I looked at Catholic schools, private schools, and all the various types of public schools. All I cared about was a high quality education for my children. I chose our neighborhood CPS school because I thought it had the highest quality education given its cost. I think its teachers are better than the other schools' teachers. And I've been active in improving our school and in advocating for all the things you're saying I should advocate for.

    But, I think we should pay for those improvements. We, the adults, are responsible for providing those things, and it doesn't just fall out of the sky. It's not just the 1 percent of adults that should pay for everything. It's the 100% of adults. We don't just get a library for our kids and get more tax money from the secret vault of money that the mayor keeps hidden. We all have to work and pay more for an improved education for our chidren. The school has to live within a certain budget, and in some cases, less money for teachers means you can hire more teachers or teacher's aides. A 10% raise for a teacher that makes $100,000 per year is $10,000. If you've got a school of 20 teachers, that's $200,000. You could hire two more teachers instead of giving every current teacher a 10% raise. These are the types of decisions that we have to make, and it doesn't help to improve education if teachers are making unreasonable salary demands.

  • It's crazy to me. I come across as a right-wing nutcase on this blog. I'm a government worker, a member of my union, and I'm even active in my union. I voted for Obama. I'm middle-of-the-road politically. I even work to recruit coworkers of mine to join the union. I have no problem with unions. But, they have to be reasonable.

    The mayor that is constantly bashed on this blog and by the teachers union is a major star in the Democratic party. He was the Chief of Staff in the White House for Obama. He's on the left wing politically in this country. There's a whole other right wing in this country that is nowhere close to the teachers union here. Where does that leave the union on the political spectrum? It's not just left of center. It's off the charts left.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Paul:


    I agree they have to be reasonable. Do you honestly think that CPS/BOE has been reasonable? I think if they would have been good faith partners with CTU right from the start this wouldn't be happening. However, SB7 gave the Mayor a sense of invincibility. The CTUs reaction is in direct reponse and proportion to the "unreasonableness" it has been dealing with.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Paul to characterize Mayor Emanuel as being on the left wing of politics in the US is completely wrong. I think he would disagree with that characterization.

    When the Mayor worked for President Clinton he was a major supporter of the Democratic Leadership Council which had as its goal goal of reclaiming the Democratic Party from the left's influence before it closed up. Emanuel historically has been a militant advocate for free-trade policies; he was a point man in the White House in the fight to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement and similar deals that were opposed by the very labor, environmental and farm groups that were essential in electing Obama. When he ran for Congress in 2002, major unions supported his Democratic primary opponent, former Illinois State Representative Nancy Kaszak.

    I can only recall two unions supporting Rahm Emanuel during the primaries for Mayor, if I am wrong I am sure someone will correct me. I do not agree with your political characterization of our Mayor. By the way I don't recall having trashed the Mayor on this blog, but I certainly have indicated that I don't agree with many of his policies.

    But I would agree that there are posters who appear to be teachers that have just plain trashed the Mayor. Part of this comes from posting with using a real name, so there is little need for restraint. Part comes from a real disagreement with his overall educational agenda that includes privitization and the injection of simulated market competition inside the public school system. This ideology is consistent with the Mayor's historic support for NAFTA and his political alliance with the anti-union wing of the Democratic party in the form of the Democratic Leadership Council.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Doesn't this just highlight how political leanings are determined in part by a frame of reference, and that there are more than one dimension to left and right?

    The Mayor is well to the left on many issues from a national frame of reference, such as gay marriage.

    But in a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic, some of his policies appear more centrist.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Rahm (at heart) is a neo-liberal, who serves the corporate interest. On social issues he paints himself as a liberal. Therefore, he garners support from the two sides and their most ardent supporters- the right's corporate elite and the left's bleeding heart liberals.

  • In reply to Paul:

    If you are a union public sector worker, stand with us. We are brothers and sisters in this fight. Rahm has spent the last year trying to turn the public against public servants.

    First he came for the teachers, and I did not speak up because I am not a teacher. Then he came for police and fire and I did not speak up because I am not police or fire.

    It's only a matter of time before he comes after you too.

  • I do. I don't agree with everything CPS/BOE advocates, and there's more that they should do. But, I think they've been more reasonable than CTU. Low teacher pay and benefits, and lack of respect for teachers are not the major problems facing CPS. Inefficiency with spending money, ineffectiveness with low academic achievement, inadequacy with instructional time, declining enrollment, legacy facility costs, and failure in low-income areas, those are the major problems in CPS. Although CPS/BOE hasn't addressed everything, much of their actions are attempts to address those issues. That's why they're advocating for lower raises for teachers, more rigorous curriculum, longer school day, school choice, school closures, and turnaround efforts. In the time I've been here, with two mayors/BOEs, and four CEOs, the teachers union has ridiculed every single one of those leaders, and has fought every major attempt at addressing those issues. If the school improvement efforts are anything but significant raises in pay and benefits for teachers or in hiring more teachers that receive those significant raises in pay and benefits, I don't believe the teachers union is interested.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Paul, have you read the CTU plan The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I have, and I like it. But it's a large wish list, it must be paid for, and that money will not fall out of the sky from the 1 percent after the teachers strike. It has to be paid for by you and me and all the other working adults in this city. Reasonable salary demands from the union would be helpful here. Voting to authorize a strike because the raise isn't big enough and because you feel disrepected and belittled is not helpful in achieving the goals of that CTU plan, in my humble opinion.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Dear Paul the Troll, unless you are in the negotiation room, you would know that CPS is negotiating in bad faith. Please refrain from speculating on what CPS is doing and their motives are during negotiation.

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    Give it up, Paul is NOT a troll. You think that anyone who has a different opinion is a troll. Shallow attempt to discredit. I compeltely agree with Paul on every post and I am not a troll either. Just a real parent. A real parent with children in cps. A real parent who is very involved in my school. A real parent who is very involved as an education advocate. A parent who used to have respect for teachers. With a strike vote, I now become a parent who no longer can view teachers as professionals. To take a vote when you do not know what you are voting on is irrational and unprofessional. Maybe you should be treated like factory line workers, because you sure are acting like it.

    I always tell my kids that there are consequences to their actions. Teachers, there are consequences to your choice to strike. If you feel disrespected now, just wait until you strike. Game over!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I honestly don't get why more parents aren't on the side of the teachers here. Parents should be raising holy hell about the conditions of schools, the large class sizes, about the lack of materials etc. Together, parents and teachers would be a much more powerful force to be reckoned with in terms of making things better for kids.

    For parents who aren't supportive of a potential strike, I'm guessing that you express such vehemence, such as in the comment above, is that you might find it inconvenient in your own life if you have to make alternative childcare arrangements in the event of a strike. It's also clear to me that many parents have absolutely no idea of how hard and dedicated most teachers are. If you truly understood what it's like to work in CPS, you would be behind teachers 100%. It is most certainly not an irrational move on the part of the CTU. If you haven't seen Mark Brown's column today, please read it as he makes a great deal of sense:

    To me, supporting teachers is also supporting learning communities. It's time to take a moral stand and expect better conditions for our teachers AND our students. They are not mutually exclusive of each other. Parents should not be angry at teachers; they should be angry as all get out at a bureaucracy the continues to fail so many people.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Left out part of a sentence... I meant to say that the reason many parents express such vehemence is that they might find this situation potentially inconvenient and messy. Sorry... was trying to edit as I wrote.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You're right let's take a strike vote in July when everyone is on vacation! Now that's irrational!!!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I really and truly don't get it, why is going on strike to stand against unjust, unequal, unhealthy conditions unprofessional. Were the writers unprofessional when they went on strike a few years ago? They were standing up to protect their profession. Are professional sports players unprofessional?

    You should look into the parent group Raise Your Hand. It was started by actual CPS parents, funded by actual CPS parents and run by actual CPS parents. Stand On Children, DFER, Advance Illinois are fake grass roots organizations (astroturf) sent here by hedge fund billionaires to destroy unions and siphon off money from public schools into shareholders pockets.

    Teachers are not your enemy. We are people who work incredibly hard to make the lives of our students a little better. We spend our lives trying to make this a better world. Sadly, all too often the Board of Education works at odds with us and we need to remind them that we have power too.

  • Dear Teachers,
    Please vote "YES", not just for the money, but for the disrespect, the bullying, and the mandates from "ABOVE". From the clouds come orders, yet no one steps in a classroom to really see what's going on. Vote for the children whose parents aren't there, who aren't involved, where you are the only one fighting for them. Vote for the children who need extra support and productive, efficient resources not just more and more red tape from "ABOVE". Vote for the schools that are being starved so they can no longer exist.
    Tomorrow we are one voice and that voice says "YES".

  • Paul, you sound like a good parent and I am glad you took the time to check out your educational options before choosing the right fit for your kids. I would bet you are very involved and knowledgeable about what is going on at your children's school. I'm going to guess that a lot of the parents of students at the school take an active role and interest. Here's the other side. The school that I teach at can't even get a quorum at LSC meetings. Parents really don't seem to mind that there is no recess, a 20 minute lunch, the newest book in the "library" is about 10 years old or more, the washrooms have toilets that constantly overflow because they are probably about 50 years old (the hallway usually doesn't smell pretty), there is a window unit in my 3rd floor classroom that hasn't worked in the ten years I've been in that room, there are not enough textbooks for every class so we share,and on and on. Here's the deal though - I care! When taking my students to one of the schools with a considerably higher SES population, they became pretty aware of the differences between the schools, they (along with myself) were a little resentful. All I could think was what a great message CPS and the Board were sending out to the less advantaged and for the most part, the neediest kids in the system (and the teachers that go and teach them everyday) - because you got dealt a bad hand by being born into poverty, we could really care less about you. You get the school that's falling apart, no prometheian boards for you, no pretty much brand new computers in your classroom, no playground with real equipment, no beautiful landscaping, and on and on. I think my students deserve the same and I don't trust CPS and the mayor to give it to them. Maybe that gives you some insight into why I will vote for yes for strike authorization. Someone has to advocate for students who have parents that can not or will not take on that role.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well, thanks. I think most teachers are good teachers and have very good intentions. But, I'm afraid that your vote to authorize a strike will not eliminate the inequality that you and your students experience. If CPS came to the union and said that instead of significant pay raises they propose shifting resources from schools with high SES populations to schools with low SES populations, the unions would reject that immediately. The union is interested in higher pay and benefits for its teachers and the hiring of new teachers with that higher pay and benefits. That comes before any type of educational improvement for my kids or kids from low-income populations.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Vote YES for Strike Authorization! Vote against the Status Quo of incompetent leadership of CPS! Paul the troll, I see you stick to your script. Same message, slightly changed, but the same message. Tell you handlers, nice try.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't have any handlers. I don't work for CPS. I don't belong to any of the groups that are fighting against the teachers union. I'm a parent of two young children who rely on this school system for their education. That means they are relying on adults like you in the school system to act responsibly. And, they're relying on me, their father, to make a good decision about staying with CPS, riding out a strike, moving to a private school, or moving to a suburb. At this point, I think we'll ride it out, but that could change.

  • In reply to Paul:

    Paul, you do what you gotta do and we will do what we feel we need to do. This yes vote is a no brainier in that it give us the most leverage to work with. It also encourages the Board to open up discussions it is not legally bound to thanks to SB7. Some of These policy decisions the boars wants to keep out of the process will do more harm to your kids than a 1 month strike. You want your kids to be in a class with 45 other kids? How about have your neighborhood scope closed or "turned around." in a disruptive manner. We are not voting yes just due to compensation we are voting yes to have some skin in the game of policy descisions.

  • Another reason to vote YES for authorizing a strike vote! Mayor's Office supporting apartheid educational policies over time. We knew it but now we have more data! I wonder how CPS will spin this one and have Alex say that CPS and the Mayor's office has been wronged by the report!

    City TIF spending on school construction work widens disparity, report says Crains: That shortchanges open-enrollment neighborhood schools, it says — echoing a frequent charge from the Chicago Teachers Union. The report specifically examines how the city has spent $858 million in TIF money on schools since 1983.

    Alex, thank you for pointing to this article.

  • Vote NO . . .be brave and step back from the precipice that this abysmal leadership has led you to. . .If you vote yes, the fun part is over . . . then it's the months of September and part or all of October without pay and benefits and not guarantee that you'll make it up . . .a lost year.

    Don't be stupid.

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