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Education Tue May 29 2012
Last Wednesday, the Chicago Teachers Union held a rally in preparation for contract negotiations beginning later this summer. Karen GJ Lewis, who was elected president of the CTU in 2010 after a hard-fought, close election against the incumbent, mayor-friendly leadership, sums up the frustrations teachers feel as they've been made scapegoats by school-privatization special interests like Stand for Children.
Last year, Stand for Children and affiliated interest groups pushed through SB7, designed to restrict collective bargaining rights and weaken teachers' negotiating position. Part of that strategic attack on public school teachers was a requirement that 75 percent of union members vote to authorize a strike should contract talks fail.
Nearly 6,000 members of the approximately 25,000 member union showed up to the rally on Wednesday, and as the video below shows, they were fired up. That 30 percent of union members could be motivated to turn out, march, and rally to show their unity should have been a chilling image for the Mayor's contract bargaining team. If talks fail, the CTU may very well have the leadership in schools across the city to secure a strike authorization vote; and if 75 percent of teachers vote for a strike, that will be a resilient strike.
Watch the video: