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CTU moves to fight union busting legislation

[Substance Editor's Note: The following was published on May 5, 2011 by Socialist Worker and is reprinted here at Substance under our reciprocity agreement. Teachers who want to locate the complete original can do so at: http://socialistworker.org. The graphics posted with this articles are by Substance.]

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (above left) joined Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery (middle) and Illinois Education Association executive Ken Swanson (right) in testifying agains the proposed legislation on December 16, 2010 in Aurora. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.ANALYSIS: LEE SUSTAR. Lee Sustar looks at the implications of a May 4 vote by the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates to withdraw support for anti-union legislation.

May 5, 2011

A MOVE by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to oppose anti-union legislation sets the stage for a confrontation with incoming Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a possible replay of teachers' 1960s fight for collective bargaining and the right to strike.

A May 2 vote by the CTU executive board, confirmed by the union's House of Delegates two days later, reverses a decision by CTU President Karen Lewis to endorse the legislation, known as SB 7 [1]. Should it become law, SB 7 would effectively strip the union of its right to strike and gut much of the CTU's established collective bargaining rights.

Now the CTU is on record as refusing to surrender these rights.

The Illinois state legislature--under direct pressure from Emanuel [2]--may well up the ante with even harsher anti-union legislation, including an outright ban on teachers' strikes in Chicago. But members of the CTU's Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) organized to pass a resolution at the union's executive board and delegates' meetings that withdrew the union's support for the bill.

Lewis, along with Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery and Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Ken Swanson, agreed to SB 7 on April 12 after weeks of negotiations with anti-union forces led by two billionaire-funded school "reform" organizations, Stand for Children and Advance Illinois.

The union leaders defended their agreement to SB 7 [3] by comparing it to even harsher legislation that had been proposed earlier. "IFT, IEA and CTU are proud to support Senate Bill 7, which contains the most significant, bold and comprehensive reforms in education in more than 40 years," the unions said in a written statement.

IN FACT, SB 7 gives the union-bashers an important victory, undermining tenure rights so that principals can more easily get rid of high-seniority teachers rated as ineffective under new and untested evaluation proceedings. "For layoffs, which have been happening around the state, it's been last hired, first fired," said Robin Steans of Advance Illinois [4]. "What this bill does is at every juncture, it says, 'No, this shouldn't be about just who's been around the longest, it should be about how people are performing for kids, and who's doing the most effective job.'"

Chicago is exempt from that section of the law — for now — because of ongoing litigation. But politicians are certain to press the same standards on the CTU in the future.

Furthermore, SB 7 singles out the CTU by imposing a longer school day without a guaranteed increase in pay.

And if Chicago teachers don't like that, too bad — SB 7 would effectively eliminate the union's right to strike. It would impose a series of mediations, notification periods and fact-finding reports that would enforce a delay of at least six months before a union could strike for a better contract--or even resist contract terms imposed by the school board. The legislation would further require at least 75 percent of the entire CTU membership to vote to strike--which means that any member who fails to cast a ballot would be counted as a "no" vote.

SB 7 also attacks the heart of the CTU's collective bargaining power with language that is obscure, but sweeping in its impact: "A dispute or impasse over any Section 4.5 subject [i.e., the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools] shall not be resolved through the procedures set forth in this Act, and the Board, mediator, or fact-finder has no jurisdiction over any Section 4.5 subject."

In other words, the law essentially carves out the CTU from the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act and oversight from the five-member board that oversees it. That means the protections normally afforded by collective bargaining rights under that law, such as the right to file grievances, could be eliminated.

These anti-union measures sparked a debate inside CORE, the caucus that won control of the CTU less than a year ago on a platform of union democracy and a militant stand against concessions. After Lewis agreed to SB 7 in the Illinois capital of Springfield without knowledge of other union officers and members, CORE activists began pushing for the union to withdraw its name from support for the bill.

A CORE e-mail sent to caucus members stated:

Barring unforeseen amendments, CORE can't support a bill that would be so damaging.

One person cannot stop the powerful combination of money and power arrayed against us. Even our best efforts may not stop this bill, but it's important that we come together and face our challenges with clarity, honesty and unity.

The stage is being set for battle, and what we do now matters for the impending clash between the incoming mayor and the teachers who care for Chicago's children.

Ironically, the SB 7 does add new language stating that the CTU could initiate a strike vote if the contract is "terminated"--something that, under the CTU's current collective bargaining agreement, is possible if the Board of Education reneges on scheduled pay increases, such as the 4 percent increase set for July 1.

The apparent intent of the legislation's authors here isn't to provide a token recognition of the union's right to strike, but to free the hand of the Board of Education and the man who will soon control it--Rahm Emanuel--to impose his terms on the CTU.

That isn't just speculation. Consider Emanuel's remarks to the Chicago Sun-Times in January, headlined, "Emanuel backs crackdown on teachers" [5]: "As we have [rules against strikes] for police and firefighters, I would have it for teachers because they provide an essential service," Emanuel said.

AS EMANUEL readies his assault on the CTU, it's important to remember how teachers won collective bargaining rights in the first place--by being prepared to strike, whether or not they had the legal right to do so.

David Selden, who was an organizer for, and then president of, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in the 1960s, wrote in his memoir, The Teacher Rebellion:

Because teachers, like other public employees, were excluded from the scope of the National Labor Relations Act, they would have to "shoot their way" to collective bargaining...That is, teachers would have to depend on their collective strength, as did autoworkers in the 1930s. School boards had the power to hold representation elections. Teachers would have to force them to act.

The strike weapon was central to the establishment of collective bargaining. In 1960, in New York City, the United Federation of Teachers held a one-day strike that forced the city's school board to meet several key union demands. The breakthrough came nearly two years later in a strike that won decisively, despite anti-strike laws. Had it been enforced, the law would have cost striking teachers their jobs--and if such teachers were rehired, it would have stripped them of tenure rights for five years and all pay increases for six.

But the size and militancy of the strike won collective bargaining for the New York teachers without such penalties, and subsequent New York laws banning public-sector strikes didn't prevent additional teacher walkouts.

The New York strike was the spark for a national teacher upsurge to win collective bargaining--a goal spurned by the National Education Association, which had long been dominated by administrators. The AFT, while far smaller, won representation rights and collective bargaining in most big-city school districts because its members were willing to fight to win their rights.

In 1966, there were 30 teachers' strikes, prompting the Detroit Free Press to observe, "Strikes and threats of strikes by public employees, particularly schoolteachers, are proving a virulent fever, and the fever spreads." The following year there were 105 strikes, and in 1968, some 2.2 million teaching days were lost to strikes.

In Chicago, the CTU won collective bargaining rights in 1966 — some 30 years after the union was founded. Previously, the CTU had relied on handshake agreements and lobbying the Democratic political machine for wage increases and improvements in working conditions. But by threatening a strike, the CTU won collective bargaining rights, and had its first official strike three years later.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the CTU was perhaps the most militant of the big-city teachers union locals in the U.S., striking nine times in 18 years. That's why politicians hostile to the teachers union got the Illinois legislature to include an 18-month strike ban on the CTU in the 1995 law that put the schools under the direct control of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Mayoral control of schools ushered in more than a decade of unending corporate "reform" that has involved dozens of school closures, the loss of CTU jobs through the proliferation of charter schools, and the severe weakening of teachers' job security.

For nearly all that time, the union was run by the United Progressive Caucus, which led the CTU during its militant era, but which did almost nothing to mobilize teacher resistance.

By contrast, CORE got its start organizing against school closures with community allies and won office on a campaign to build union power. That's why Emanuel and his allies in the Illinois legislature want to accelerate corporate-style education reform by shackling the CTU once again with anti-strike legislation--this time, permanently. With Republicans like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker out to eviscerate public sector bargaining, Democrats in Illinois can push their own anti-union legislation and appear reasonable.

Thus, some form of legislation restricting the CTU's right to strike is likely to pass the Illinois legislature at the insistence of Rahm Emanuel, who takes over as mayor May 16. The incoming mayor will try to make an example of the CTU, not only to further the agenda of corporate school reform, but also to intimidate members of other public-sector unions, whose pensions Emanuel wants to cut [6].

And if there's anyone who doubts that Emanuel is out to get the CTU, consider the incoming mayor's choice of schools CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard, who got a 95 percent no-confidence vote [7] by Rochester, N.Y., teachers when he ran the schools in that city.

All this makes the CTU's position on the Emanuel-approved SB 7 critically important. If the union had stood by endorsement of the legislation, it would have demoralized union members, encouraged the corporate education reformers to push for further attacks, and made it vastly more difficult to challenge the anti-strike provisions with job actions in the future.

By clearly opposing SB 7, the CTU's executive board and delegates have taken an important first step in preparing their members for the inevitable showdown with the next mayor.

Published by the International Socialist Organization.

[1] http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/97/SB/09700SB0007sam001.htm

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/us/17cncwarren.html

[3] http://www.ieanea.org/media/2011/04/Sb7-fact-sheet-updated-4-161.pdf

[4] http://www.wbez.org/story/news/education/deal-reached-teacher-tenure-overhaul-85164

[5] http://www.suntimes.com/3204826-417/teachers-chicago-emanuel-union-hours.html

[6] http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/emanuel-says-he-favors-reduced-pensions-for-current-city-workers-not-just-new-hires/

[7] http://rochesterhomepage.net/fulltext?nxd_id=234406

[8] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0



Comments:

May 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

By: John Kugler

Tom Cross Union Buster Republican

This is not the first time Tom Cross IL House republican tried to bust our Union.

SB07

4/25/2011 Assigned to Elementary & Secondary Education Committee

4/26/2011 Added Alternate Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Tom Cross

In March 2010 he sponsored HB 5596 that had union busting language also only targeting the Chicago Teachers Union.

Maybe people should call him and ask who is paying him to bust our Union.

Representative Tom Cross (R)

84th District House Republican Leader

http://www.tomcross.com/

tom@tomcross.com

Springfield Office:

316 Capitol Building

Springfield, IL 62706 (217) 782-1331

(217) 782-3234 FAX

District Office:

24047 W. Lockport St.Suite 213Plainfield, IL 60544 (815) 254-0000

(815) 609-3994 FAX

here is a link to the full story of his attempt last year to bust our union.

Illinois Republicans aim to further cripple Chicago Teachers Union

March 28, 2010

http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=1272

The Chicago Board of Education is trying to get legislation (HB 5596) introduced by Illinois State Republican House representatives to allow the school board to to reopen the Chicago Teachers Union contract without the agreement of the union.

The bill seeks to prohibit any educational employee from going on strike during the time when the contract would be opened by the school board because it does not want to fulfill the contractual agreement for salary increases. In addition to the prohibition on striking when the employer breaks the contract for not wanting to pay the negotiated pay raises, there would be significant penalties for striking: the exclusive bargaining agent shall be removed and declared ineligible for representation for 2 years; employer cannot deduct dues for the exclusive bargaining agent for 2 years; fines may be imposed on the bargaining rep and officers.

The pending legislation is even more of an attack on the Chicago Teachers Union than was the Amendatory Act of 1995, which gave Mayor Richard M. Daley dictatorial control over Chicago's schools and barred the Chicago Teachers Union and the Cook County College Teachers Union from several traditional rights. The 1995 legislation was supported by Daley, a large number of Democrats and most Republicans, including then governor Jim Edgar. After it was signed into law, the myth was created that Daley had courageously offered to take over the failing Chicago school system, when in fact that provisions of the 1995 law, including the abolition of the Chicago School Finance Authority and the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in additional money to Chicago's schools, made Daley's first years in power over the schools a walk in the park, when compared with the tight-fisted approach to the schools during the previous 15 years (following the school financial crisis of 1979 - 1982).

HB5562 was filled on February 8, 2010 by Illinois House Republican Leader, Tom Cross, of the 84th congressional District in Plainfield, Illinois. Representative Michael W. Tryon (R), of the 64th District from Crystal Lake, Illinois, was the Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.

May 5, 2011 at 9:03 PM

By: John Kugler

More House Sponsors of SB07

Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D)

83rd District

Springfield Office:

243-E Stratton Office Building

Springfield, IL 62706

(217) 558-1002

(217) 782-0927 FAX

District Office:

8 E. Galena Blvd., Suite 240

Aurora, IL 60506

(630) 264-6855

(630) 264-6752 FAX

Kane County

Email: chapa-laviali@ilga.gov

Representative Roger L. Eddy (R)

109th District

Springfield Office:

200-7N Stratton Office Building

Springfield, IL 62706

(217) 558-1040

(217) 558-3481 FAX

District Office:

108 S. Main

P.O. Box 125

Hutsonville, IL 62433

(618) 563-4128

(618) 563-4129 FAX

Crawford County

roger@peopleforeddy.com

Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D)

25th District

Springfield Office:

300 Capitol Building

Springfield, IL 62706

(217) 782-8121

(217) 524-1794 FAX

District Office:

1303 E. 53rd Street

Chicago, IL 60615

(773) 667-0550

(773) 667-3010 FAX

Cook County

repcurrie@sbcglobal.net

Representative Patrick J. Verschoore (D)

72nd District

Springfield Office:

259-S Stratton Office Building

Springfield, IL 62706

(217) 782-5970

(217) 558-1253 FAX

District Office:

1504 3rd Ave., 2nd Floor

County Office Bldg.

Rock Island, IL 61201

(309) 558-3612

(309) 793-4764 FAX

Rock Island County

Email: pverschoore@legis.state.il.us

Representative Darlene J. Senger (R)

96th District

Springfield Office:

205A-N Stratton Office Building

Springfield, IL 62706

(217) 782-6507

(217) 782-1275 FAX

District Office:

125 Water Street

Naperville, IL 60540

(630) 219-3090

(630) 219-3091 FAX

DuPage County

Email: sengerstaterep@gmail.com

May 5, 2011 at 9:54 PM

By: Glen Brown

Teachers' and Other Public Employees' Rights

The confrontation between freedom and power has an indeterminable history. One hundred and fifty-two years ago, John Stuart Mill, in his famous essay, On Liberty, examined the “struggle between Liberty and Authority… between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the Government” (Mill 1). A question he might have asked today is, what should be the limits of power that legislators have over their constituents, such as public employees, when some of these lawmakers’ decisions border on political despotism?

How can public employees guard against such arrogance, self-interest, prejudice, and prevarications? In a democracy, there must be dialogue, for “[the] silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility” (17). This revival of absolutism today forecloses the right to be heard and exiles truth from being openly canvassed. Moreover, it extinguishes critical thinking and the understanding of the relationship among ideas and matters of fact. In regards to creating and passing any legislation, the closest we can arrive at an acceptable course of action, such as in the establishment of a just law, is by posing counterarguments to any arguments that might be presented before it can become a law.

To threaten or to change public employees’ constitutionally-guaranteed pensions with the passage of a law that mitigates certain benefits and to deprive public employees’ rights to bargain is an encroachment of their right to human dignity and justice. It is a calculated infringement of those principles, made evident by the lack of reciprocity and obligation for those legislators who knowingly create and pass such laws and by those who willingly support such inequity and fabricated causality.

In a world of freedom, justice, and peace, “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his [or her] interests” (Article 23, No, 4 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly of the United Nations, Resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948). In Wisconsin, however, one governor did not believe “human rights should be protected by the rule of law” (Preamble to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and that conviction is unethical, injudicious, and discriminatory and should not happen in Chicago or anywhere else.

May 6, 2011 at 7:28 AM

By: Rod Estvan

SB7

The decision of the CTU House now puts CTU all by itself in relation to SB7. Both the IFT and IEA as far as I can tell are still supporting the bill in the Illinois House. The modifications being requested by the CTU House are not without justification.

But now Stand For Children can push for the complete strike ban it has wanted and they do not have to appear to be backing out of the deal. This is a very complex situation to say the least.

Mr. Sustar in the article does not give the CTU House vote total for over turning support for SB7. I think it is important for Substance to give this information. It also appears that there may be a split between the CTU's elected leadership on this issue and CORE. Maybe that should be reported on too.

Rod Estvan

May 6, 2011 at 9:19 AM

By: john kugler

HoD Vote

Unanimous. The house of delegates is the supreme governing body of the union. Whatever differences may have been now the union has spoken and that is our unified position. The most interesting fact that came out of the meeting was that the union leadership is now being attacked by the far right and the far left. Seems like those fringe people are unhappy but the membership is behind the administrator? Strange how politics and unionism are at opposite ends of the spectrum sometimes.

May 6, 2011 at 10:06 AM

By: Nick Shafer

This decision is unwise.

In the political climate where the public is already unhappy with teachers unions, this is a terrible decision for the CTU to make. And who can blame the public for feeling this way. Many face unemployment, pay decreases, loss of home, while looking at teachers who are not only losing only a minimal amount of the workforce(the 1,200 that were let do is a drop in the bucket compared to the private sector) but are also getting a 4% wage increase year after year. The general public does not care what the contract says or doesn't say. All they are going to see is everyone onboard with landmark legislation to reform education except for the infamous Chicago Teachers Union. The CTU will not win the PR battle, will not win the legislative battle, and will go down in a fire of stubbornness and radicalism.

May 6, 2011 at 10:39 AM

By: Sean Noonan

Opposition to SB 7

Rod,

Local 1600 is also opposed to SB 7. Furthermore, back in October at the IFT convention Locals 1, and 1600 could have stopped featherbedding at Westmont and elected Karen Lewis President and Perry Buckley Secretary of the IFT. The whole character of Westmont could have been pushed in a pro-teacher and pro-union direction. Instead my union dues go to a union leadership who are basically wholesalers of labor-power and support union busting legislation like SB 7.

May 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM

By: Sean Noonan

Wise and Necessary

Nick,

SB 7 is so bad for teachers it is political suicide to not oppose it. It is better to fight SB 7 and lose than to support it and win. The struggle we are in is going to continue for the foreseeable future. If you fight now, then the enemies of teachers unions know that their efforts will meet future resistance. Supporting SB 7 sends the message that the teachers unions won't fight, which in turn will encourage further attacks on teachers. Even if the public is as anti-teacher as you suggest (and I don't think it is) there are times (like now) when you have to accept being unpopular in order to defend certain basic principles. The practical ability to strike is a principle worth defending, even at the expense of being unpopular.

May 6, 2011 at 1:35 PM

By: bob

SB 7

Memories

It was a cold December afternoon the day before Christmas Vacation

When we all found out that the Board could not pay its employees.

We went on like that for six weeks .Where were the reformers then?

It was belly of the depression when the teachers were paid in script

Which almost any store would let you spend it , at a 20% discount.

Where were the reformers then?

It was the time of the School Finance Authority and then Clinton.

When these reformers were all making money up the ass and we were getting

shit. Slowly our fate improved. We didn’t share in the roaring prosperity of

those times but eventually we got back to being able to pay our bills

all while the Republican Suburbs , with elected school boards ,paid a living wage.

I was shocked that the current union leadership would

Trust the Board and hope they have learned something I did years ago

You can never trust the Chicago Board of education as long as the scumbag

Democratic machine runs this city ,county, and state. I hope you apologists

out there have learned this hard fact of life.” Guts can always buy brains”

May 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM

By: Rod Estvan

SB7

Well that is amazing that everyone, including Karen is now calling for a no vote on this bill in the House unless it is amended.

Not long ago this statement was issued jointly by the IFT and IEA and sent to me:

IFT and IEA Issue Joint Statement on Education Reform Legislation

5/6/2011

The following is a joint statement from Illinois Education Association President Ken Swanson and the Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery on the status of Senate Bill 7:

"After months of historic collaboration and bargaining in good faith, the Illinois House can, by making necessary adjustments, ensure that Illinois gets education reform legislation that reflects what was intended and agreed upon in the negotiations.

We are on the precipice of passing some the most serious reforms to education that Illinois has seen in decades, and drafting such legislation is a deliberate process. The coalition that came together remains united in our ultimate objective: to pass reforms that protect the voice of the teacher in the classroom while making our schools better for our kids."

By "necessary adjustments" I assume over the phrase: "A dispute or impasse over any Section 4.5 subject [i.e., the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools] shall not be resolved through the procedures set forth in this Act, and the Board, mediator, or fact-finder has no jurisdiction over any Section 4.5 subject." and over the 75% of the membership phrasing.

If amendments relating to these issues pass is the CTU going to support the bill or is it still opposed?

Rod Estvan

May 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM

By: Rod Estvan

Stand for Children statement on CTU and SB7

I just got this too:

Joint statement of Robin Steans, Executive Director of Advance Illinois, Jessica Handy, Policy Director of Stand for Children – Illinois and Jeff Mays, President, Illinois Business Roundtable in response to the Chicago Teachers Union’s removal of support from Illinois Senate Bill 7″…

"SB 7 is the same legislation that the Chicago Teachers Union assisted in crafting and openly supported in the Illinois Senate. For more than three months, state senators, school management groups, the State Board of Education, education reform organizations and teachers’ unions- including the Chicago Teachers Union- sat at the same negotiating table and hammered out the specifics of SB 7.

This process was extraordinary for its inclusive and collaborative nature and something which proudly sets Illinois apart from other states.

The proposed language of the bill has been available and under discussion for months. All parties were given the chance to review the final language of SB 7 and, indeed, the Chicago Teachers Union did propose last minute changes, which were incorporated before it was passed unanimously by the Illinois Senate on April 14th.

The Chicago Teachers Union has now removed its support from SB 7 and in doing so, has undermined the good faith in which it was negotiated.

Since passage in the Senate, we have worked with the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, school management groups, and legislators on clean-up language in several areas. We remain committed to continuing to work collaboratively with legislators and stakeholders on this landmark legislation."

May 6, 2011 at 10:49 PM

By: Edward Hershey

SB 7

Look Alex Russo at District 299 was hesitant about this bill. That says something.

What does restricting our right to strike have to do with students' education? It does have to do with it if they are going to continue cutting education funding and our working conditions (i.e., the learning conditions of the students).

Why should we accept a longer school day and school year at anything less than a rate pro-rated by our current pay? I will accept that we need a longer day and year.

But I also think there's money to pay for that. They have money for Coors, money for United Airlines to get cherry-wood paneling in their Willis Tower offices -- money that comes out of funds that should go to the schools, btw.

I don't care that IEA and IFT want to sell out education so they can stay "at the table."

I was highly disappointed to see us sign on to this mess -- a watered down version of the Wisconsin-Walker attack on public workers. But I'm also at least half relieved to see that Karen and co. have seen the light and respect the considered, unanimous opinion of the HOD. I think it's still a liability that CTU was ever quoted as supporting this bill. But better late than never.

I agree w. Noonan above -- better to fight an attack on us alone, than to support it and invite worse.

May 7, 2011 at 12:08 AM

By: Jim Cavallero

SB7 is not in reality an education reform bill

As a CPS teacher and CTU delegate I do have an issue with SB7. This bill is titled as an education reform bill. That is inaccurate. If it is an education reform bill where is the language on reducing class size or ensuring students a well rounded curricullum as opposed to standardized test prep? There isn't any in there. All teachers want education reform and we want to be a part of the process. This bill, however, is really about collective bargaining, teacher evaluation, seniority and tenure.

That's ok but let's call it what it really is. As teachers we should have the right to be treated fairly if something affects our working conditions or career and we should be able to seek change when there is an attempt to legislate those conditions. In particular this bill removes the jurisdiction of the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board or mediators for certain disagreements. Why shouldn't a third party be able to look at and make decisions in disputes between a school district and a union or teacher. Isn't that democracy? That we have the right to due process is bad a thing?

Also, mandating that 75% of the members of CTU have to affirm a strike, not 75% of those voting but 75% of the membership is a blatant tactic to essentially take away the right to strike. What if politicians had to get 75% of all registered voters in order to be elected? It wouldn't happen. Mayor-Elect Emanuel got 55% of the vote but only 43% of the electorate came out to vote. Would people deny he should be the mayor as elected by the people?

Finally, if you read this bill and all issues related to education labor since 1995, I believe, there are different rules for Chicago than for the rest of the state. The above mentioned strike restriction is just one of them. We also have no right to bargain for class size in Chicago. I would like the playing field to be leveled and have Chicago be subject to the same laws, codes and rules as the rest of the state. Is that too much to ask for?

May 7, 2011 at 8:02 AM

By: Rod Estvan

SB7

We all operate in different worlds, the world inside a school building, the world inside a meeting of the CTU House, and the world of the IL General Assembly. Each of these worlds has its own methods of operations and conventions.

If the real issue with SB7 are two passages then the reality of the IL General Assembly required that the CTU put forward amendments with specific language changes. First, the CTU needed to get the IEA and IFT lobbyists on board for those changes, then get the Senate sponsor of SB7 on board.

Those amendments should have been presented to Stand for Children and their supporters as reflecting the intent of what was agreed to at the meetings that created this bill. Effectively, it would have required Stand for Children to blow up SB7 by not agreeing to reasonable amendments. For PR purposes this would have been the best way to go.

But this is not what happened and I think there is a profound disagreement among CTU members with the entire SB7 concept and a wish to blow up the deal. I fully understand that, and so does the IL General Assembly I think. The way CTU went about this has clearly made the union look militant and if that is what members want they got it.

The leadership of the Democratic Party in the General Assembly and that of the Republicans are in basic agreement that public sector unions need to be tamed in order to reduce costs. The CTU is now in the cross hairs and has entered a fight for its very survival. it seems to me that the most active members of the CTU believe in the idea you can kill me fast or slow, either way I am dead.

Really there may be no turning back now, the new Mayor may have the green light from the leadership of the Democratic party to lower costs for education at the expense of unionized teachers however he choses. At this point I think it is important that the CTU take stock of its own members to be sure they are ready for what could be coming, its needs to understand the perception of the CTU that the media which is largely anti union will paint, and it needs to hope for good luck in what may be coming.

Rod Estvan

May 7, 2011 at 4:27 PM

By: John Kugler

They Started the Fight

we are voters, parents and taxpayers of Illinois who are being attacked by our own Representatives. all this talk of "we should act a certain way" "watch what we say" "Springfield is sensitive to what we do"

is nonsense. they are trying to destroy my life and take the food away from my children. I do not see a state legislator or scum lobbyist taking a salary cut or benefit reduction. this is class warfare, to fight on "their" terms is submission to their terms.

Knuckle Up!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXeK0Tx3HD8

May 8, 2011 at 12:38 PM

By: Glen Brown

SB 7 "Performance Counts" Issue

We must be careful of the wealthy foundations that support the prevailing tsunami of educational reform. These corporate millionaires behind groups like Advance Illinois and Stand for Children will not and “cannot be held accountable; they are not elected by anyone.” This is an irony since these groups believe that teachers should be held accountable for all the failures of their students.

Implementing performance agreements, diminishing the power of unions, establishing merit pay, hiring and firing personnel according to private sectors’ procedures – do not address problems in education. Consider, for instance, how a public school district would establish an assurance of administrative impartiality and competency before providing the requisite training for fair and equitable evaluative methods and due process.

Changes for educational reform must come from teachers, administrators and its local school board, and from students and their involved parents as they work together to solve the many challenges that we face. Modifications of current teachers’ evaluations, benefits, and rights should not come from outside, corporate-funded groups that emphasize an accountability program based on questionable sanctions and unformulated “multiple measures” linked to teachers’ performance.

No Child Left Behind and its spawn, “Performance Counts,” cannot resolve the difficulties that teachers will invariably inherit. Why? Teachers do not work with quantifiable outcomes.

How does one measure the effects that a teacher has on his or her students’ character, aspirations, responsibility, and moral and ethical values? How does one measure a teacher’s inspiration, dedication and passion that these influences have on a student? Are there reliable, valid tests and data for such indelible impressions on a student? A teacher does not make a sale or earn a profit. A teacher works with children and young adults.

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