Fair To Picket The Emergency Sites?

CPS just sent out a letter from Brizard to CTU that reads in part "I am disheartened to learn that your members are going out of theirway to protest and picket our Children First sites... the protest targeting our contingency sites are only making the situation more difficult... We owe it to Chicago’s children to spare them from the experience of getting caught in the middle of a dispute among adults -- something they should not have to endure."

This makes me wonder whether (a) it's gotten ugly at some of the contingency site schools (if so, do tell what you've seen or heard), or (b) Brizard is trying to play on the public's sympathies (again) and make the union look like the bad guys (again), or (c) a little bit of both.

For myself, I can totally understand the desire for CTU to picket at the sites where the kids and cameras are -- it's so much more fun than picketing empty schools, and where else are they going to go picket, anyway?  Plus which you can make admins and CPD and everyone else feel bad for working the contingency sites.

But, like the downtown protest that turned into a traffic jam, it seems like a bit of overkill.  We get it, you're good at wearing red shirts and showing up places, and you've shut down the school system.  We hear your roar.  Now... something else?

Or -- this is something I've suggested several times on Twitter and no one seems to think is interesting or amusing -- perhaps disgruntled parents could start picketing the empty school buildings, or the Merchandise Mart, or showing up at CTU events and making noise in the background?

The strike is polling at basically 50-50, so there's no shortage of parents who disagree with the strike out there.  Then again, they have jobs and childcare responsibilities and are generally less advantaged than the teachers who are holding their children hostage for... respect and air conditioning (wages they already won, remember).

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  • 50-50? Alex, don't be a dum dum. 47%-39% is not 50-50.

  • THANK YOU LOCAL 134!
    ++++++++Now when will the other unions such as the school assistants, security guards and engineers tell their people to stop scabbing!++++ How am I supposed to have a working relationship with the aides assigned to my special education classroom when I know they have been paid double and it is off my BACK!

    Subject: Fwd: Local 134 Transparency Times
    Check out the email my husband was sent!
    Subject: Local 134 Transparency Times
    From: Local 134 Transparency Times

    Local 134 Transparancy Times - Letting our fellow brothers and sisters know what is really going on at 600 Washington
    Is this email not displaying correctly?
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    Local 134
    Transparancy Times
    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    Please be aware that our brothers and sisters in the Chicago Teachers Union
    need our support. Please report to any member of any union who crosses the
    picket line to your union stewards so that they may notify the officials at
    the Hall.

    Also let us know if you spot any non-union electricians crossing
    the picket lines to work inside Chicago Public School facilities. We will
    immediately notify the City of Chicago and the Department of Labor. It is
    about contract violation, but more importantly, it is about keeping school
    children safe by avoiding substandard work by untrained workers.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Those that are in my building now are not scabs. The city signed a contract with them and they will be fired if they cross. End of story.

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    They can call in sick...any union member who crosses a picket line is a scab..look at Catalyst and the custodians as of today.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    If they are a scab you are a f#ck. Our engineers have our backs and you are not worth the spit coming out of my mouth I use to talk.

  • Astro-blogger: Have you actually talked to anyone who is "teaching" at these "Children First" centers? They advertise online AP classes, etc., but students are only allowed 30 minute slots on super-slow CPS computers. They play movies which the students don't attend to. What is the point of even asking if it's fair to picket there?

  • If Rham cared about the children he could have had his minions arrange to have the breakfast and lunch dropped off at the park districts. The park district field houses and local churches would ahve suffice for centers. This strike is the first time children had to cross picket lines. No other mayor has ever stooped this low but Rham is very different almost like a person without social graces or empathy for his victims-the children. No one at CPS thought to stop this lunacy-very disappointing.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to district299reader:

    isn't the clinincal definition of someone "without social graces or empathy for his victims" a SOCIOPATH?

  • You know what's bothers me, jCB? That you and your douchebag of a board didn't even start negotiating with the CTU until 2 days before we started striking. So kiss my ass as I strike at my open but mostly empty school.

  • Alex we get it, you're good at patronizing teachers, twisting facts, and using hyperbole to drive traffic to a blog about a city you don't live in. Now....something else?

  • fb_avatar

    I am a teacher and my school is a contingency site. We have been picketing our school. There has been nothing but respectful interactions between the teachers and the parents (and children) who choose to send their kids into the school. I will admit that the enrollment is very low. Most parents have chosen to keep their kids out of school in support of the strike!

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    In reply to ad60660:

    agreed. I too have witnessed a picket at a contingency school.

    1) The students and parents HUG their teeachers!
    2) The students and parents picket for a while WITH the teachers...then go into the school.
    3) The people wiht the most respect and care for these students ARE the teachers - the last thing they would ever want to do it frighten them.
    4) The real reason (so much of this strike as been about exposing the real reason behind these negotiation points) that JCB doesn;t want picketers outside these schools is to decrease the opportunities for good dialouge with the teachers...he prefers 10 second sound bites on the 5 oclock news and the anti-teacher Tribune to the be information source for parents.

  • How would you evaluate the Mayor's performance leading up to and in this strike? Let's look at a list of extremely serious mistakes that have been costly to tax-payers, damaging to the city, and don't bode well for future city-union confrontations:

    1. SB7: Rahm relied on bad advice and undermined his credibility by relying on ostensibly clever deception and incorrectly calculated power grabs. Are the state politicians who got sucked into this mess by Rahm going to be forgiving? SB7, as Rod Estvan has amply pointed out, made it impossible for meaningful negotiations to take place. It restricted teachers to striking over wages, forcing negotations to become bizarre and suggestive rather than direct. SB7's 75% strike vote requirement encouraged the mayor to take an overly aggressive and arrogant stance that laid a solid foundation for mistrust and dared teachers to strike.

    2. Brizard. Perhaps filled with SB7 hubris, Emmanuel appointed a CPS CEO with a proven record of inspiring mistrust in teachers. Brizard's 99% no-confidence vote among Rochester teachers presaged the sky-high teacher vote for a strike authorization.

    3. Rescinding the 4% raise for the last year of the previous contract. Again, probably due to false confidence that SB7 made him strike-proof. Rahm did not involve the union in discussions about this, but simply had his board do the dirty deed in the dark. This gave the union greater credibility and missed an opportunity to share some blame for this predictably alienating maneuver.

    4. Evaluation/Merit Pay. Like all of the above, Rahm relied on trickery to make it look like the union had participated willingly in the design of the evaluation system, and then made what I think was maybe his most crucial mistake--his people clearly articulated to teachers how a controversial evaluation system could get you fired, but totally failed to articulate how it could us merit pay. So the many confident and highly-skilled teachers I know who were at least curious about merit pay came to believe that firing teachers was the point of the thing and threw their/our lots in with the union. Had merit pay been articulated before the "50 ways to lose your job" program was rolled out in such splendid and gorey detail, the union might have been split.

    5. Giving away the store. Again, building on the lousy foundation of SB7, Rahm insisted on only negotiating the raise until, like, today. An intelligent child would have seen that the union was not going to agree to any wage increase, not matter how high, because wages were not the issue of greatest importance to teachers. As a result, CPS bid up the wage increase in an effort to preserve the things that SB7 was supposed to make non-negotiable. Had Rahm seen that SB7 was a bad egg earlier, he might have held off on offering wages, which the city might not be able to afford, and instead offered serious negotiation earlier on the issues that really mattered to teachers.

    6. The other unions. It seems likely that that if this strike is settled at a higher price than Rahm seemed to promise early on, he will not be able to negotiate forecefully with other unions. While there is a safety valve for this contract, because CPS can shut down 100 schools, cut the 3000 teachers that are involved, and save a chunk of the extra raises it promised to teachers, the same safety valve does not exist for the other city services.

    7. Good will. I am not sure anyone would want to govern Chicago as a Republican, but that is what has happened. The astro-blogger and the editorial sides of the two big papers have the support numbers wrong, I believe. Support for teachers is on a par with disapproval for Rahm. The 47% percent of respondents who support teachers is likely to increase, not decrease, with time, because this is an expression of sympathy with the perceived anti-Rahm nature of the strike. As long as the public perceives this to be a referendum on Rahm, his personal popularity (or lack thereof) is going to drive polls about support for teachers.

  • 'I MIGHT BE LOSING MY JOB OVER THIS': This is Tuesday's, Chicago Sun-Times front page headline about a CPS female parent. However, this will be the headline for CTU members when Mayor Rahm Emanuel closes, phases out, consolidates and turnarounds from 80 to 120 CPS in the 2013-2014 school year and brings on more charter schools. Even more (maybe 6,000) CTU members will lose their jobs over the next two years due to the new teacher evaluation system that CPS is pushing. Nation-wide more than 300,000 school employees have lost their jobs since June 2009. There is a full-court press by Republicans and Mayor Rahm Emanuel against teachers' unions. Many conservative Republican groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are eager to weaken teachers' unions because they view them as powerful political supporters of Democrats. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, do you really care about CPS school children and employees? P.S.- Mayor Rahm Emanuel's three children attend the University of Chicago Lab Schools, an elite institution which costs the mayoral family appromately $75,000 a year tuition. That must be nice. P.S. II- Yes it's ok to picket in front on the 147 " Babysitting First" Schools.

  • from a reader: "No parent whose kids go to a school that has unionized teachers will ever say anything negative about the teachers, their union, or the strike. As the cliché says "It will go on your permanent record." Cross the union and your kid may suffer the consequences; you'll never know. Why take the chance. Just sayin'"

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Yeah...the teachers can't wait to grade papers lower if the parent said something bad about the strike - rediculous. Over 1,000,000 student days / 7,000,000 student hours of instruction will have been lost by the end of this week. Teachers will have lots of late nights catching back up.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    And this explains why they tell pollsters from the SunTimes that they support teachers? That was sure worth posting here!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Yeah, or we could actually just love each other. But love looks like a fakery to the loveless.

  • Our school is a contigency school. Other schools have come to picket because of this. Apparently, all the workers who are not striking at these other schools also have to report there.

    On our count 47-50 people enter, about a dozen administrators and some 125ers. You know how many children came to be babysat all week? SIX to at the most EIGHT. Our "insiders" tell us they just put the kids in the computer room all day while they sit on their laptops doing their Clark Street work.

    The parents that are dropping their kids off say good morning to us and drop off doughnuts and coffee. We were even nice to walk parents who were lost to the right doors. Heck, the kids even grab some sweets from our table when they enter.

    The other day, three little kids showed up at 7:30, telling us their mom told them to go to school. They pounded and knocked on the doors, but no one let them in. We had them stand with us on the picket line, we made sure they had something to eat, and walked them to the door when it was finally unlocked. Once again teachers doing jobs they don't have to do, on their time, with NO PAY, while the 125ers are sneaking in the back door following the rules of "8:30 am".
    I think J.C. should go and check out these sites and see that the teachers are not only still doing their jobs, but are dedicated and compassionate even though they're not being paid and are locked out of CPS systems.

  • In reply to displacedteach:

    To add:
    I think J.C. should take that second letter he posted on the CPS website to Karen and shove it up his you know what.
    We are these children's teachers. We know more about these children and care more about them than anyone on Clark Street. We know where they come from, how they're being raised, what their needs are and how hard some of their lives are.
    J.C. and his crew wouldn't know one of them if they crossed the street in front of his big limo. To these people, our students are just numbers, scores, and basis for merit pay hidden under the pretense of "caring".

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