The Chicago Teacher’s Union is not the only union fighting a battle with City Hall. Back in late-May, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, a.k.a. the CPD’s union, filed a grievance against the city for not being appropriately compensated for their overtime work during the week of NATO. The total unpaid overtime was worth over $15 million.
The FOP was eventually able to reach a deal with CPD, which allowed members to receive compensation for overtime worked during the NATO summit, but there are still other grievances on the table.
One of the major ones is a violation of bargaining rights. The FOP says the city broke its labor contract by not awarding officers overtime pay for working a 6th or 7th consecutive day during the NATO week. The city also awarded overtime pay at the start of 12-hour shifts to some officers instead of at the end of the shift. By filing the overtime paperwork this way, the FOP claims, the city is illegally avoiding ‘change of start time’ pay.
So, if you are a member of a union in Chicago, City Hall is violating your rights. The FOP, much like the CTU, also negotiated for a new contract this year. What’s the difference between their struggle and that of CTU? Well, it’s really in how conservatives and liberals view the members of the respective unions.
From a conservative point of view, it is easy to glorify a cop. They are often times risking their lives to do their duties. They are revered as life-savers. Teachers, on the other hand, are seen as people holding up a bad system of education, and their power must be terminated.
According to the view from the left, teachers are revered as life-savers for taking on the tough task of educating all youth. Cops are then viewed as people who uphold the poor vs. the rich system, and their power must be terminated.
So, which side is right? Neither side is right because each side is villainizing a type of public servant. There have been a lot of tweets that go along the lines of “The biggest test for progressives is supporting the teachers' union's strike.” I would like to add to that and say that the biggest test for super left progressives would be supporting the FPO, if they too decide to strike in the future.
Unions are there to protect employees. Employees who are the ones out there handling the tough issues of the city. Who knows more about what goes on in a classroom? The teachers. Who knows the most about what’s going on in the streets of Chicago? The police. They are both public servants, and they deserve to be treated with respect from City Hall and the public they serve. So, put your politics aside and put the public and those who labor for it first.
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