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AFT REPORTS: Chicago played major role in 2012

By the final day of the convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the main news reports outside the convention told the story of the speech by Vice President Joe Biden and the warm reception Biden had received from most of the more than 3,000 convention delegates and visitors. But inside the convention itself, the large impact of the relatively small Chicago delegation was still the talk of the town. Chicago's militancy — and threatened strike against former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who has been Chicago's mayor since May 2011 — was showing the way to the nearly dormant union towards a new militancy of the kind that had given birth to the union's major cities' locals during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

And as the delegates had lined up to pass through metal detectors on the way to the convention hall on July 29, 2012, the day the convention's business would be interrupted by the Biden speech, many older delegates were reminded of the history of union militancy in an unusual way. Outside the doors, while the lines stretch more than one city block waiting for the security to clear them, people were treated to Motown songs by a group of singer who showed the same energy that had once characterized most of the big locals of the union.



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