STRIKE WATCH: The importance of 'NO!'

One of the things that union leaders were taught at the beginning of our training for years, perhaps decades, was the simple importance of the word "No." If the boss wants it, it's probably not in the best interest of the workers. All of the nonsense people have been hearing for the past 20 years or so, from various echo chambers of ruling class propaganda, has confirmed that.

During all of the strikes of the late 1970s and 1980s, organized Chicago substitute teachers made it clear that they were an integral part of the Chicago Teachers Union. During the 1983 strike, substitute teachers Joe Corker, Margie Fineberg, Sam Borde, and Phil Grant (above) wore their S.U.B.S. tee shirts on the line as well as their CTU picket signs. The reason was to remind the other members of the union that substitutes were a part of the union, but that substitute teacher pay and benefits had been falling behind. Two of the four teachers in the above photograph (Joe Corker and Phil Grant) have since passed on, although there was no moment of silence for them in the CTU at the time of their deaths.When CPS and Mayor Richard M. Daley wanted to become "partners" with the Chicago Teachers Union and make contractual rights into Board privileges, the answer should have been "No!"

When members of the Illinois General Assembly were lulled into believing that they could abolish the tax levy for teacher pensions and things would still be fine, the answer should have been "No!"

And when union members accepted the silly notion, refuted more than a hundred years ago at a place called Pullman and dozens of times since, that it was possible in a capitalist system for workers and bosses to work together — the latest iteration was called the "Saturn Model." The answer should have been "You've got to be KIDDING!" along with guffaws and tears of laughter.

Instead, we were told to go along with it, and for the better part of two decades, Chicago teachers and other school workers were stuck with a company union and company unionism, more than 5,000 CTU members lost, the massive privatization of public education services, and a ladeling of lies not really known around Chicago at least since the days when William McKinley was President of the USA.


February 2, 2012 at 9:13 PM

By: Michael J. Harrington

Ladelings of lies...

George, Love this, plus your beautiful phasing here with "a ladeling of lies." It is striking (no pun intended).

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