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Christine Boardman and Local 73 have contributed to Rahm's campaign fund and had the union's members to cross the teachers' 2012 picket lines, but the SEIU leader threatened to sue Klonsky so he corrected two statements

Christine Boardman's September 26 letter to Mike Klonsky got a correction on two statements. But Boardman's record over the past couple of years includes cutting a deal with the Board of Education before the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, donating $25,000 to Rahm Emanuel's re-election, and (through her side Matt Brandon) denigrating the Chicago Teachers Union's fight against the attacks on the Municipal workers pension fund in Chicago. Additionally, on a regular basis Local 73 members in the city's schools ask CTU delegates about joining the CTU because of their disappointment with Boardman's service to her members. More than 100 years ago, Jack London got it right. In Chicago in September 2012, nothing had changed but the technology to call a scab a scab.While there may be some nuance over the question of how to define a scab, generally a scab is considered to be someone who crosses a union picket line during the strike. And in September 2012, the largest number of people who crossed the picket lines of the Chicago Teachers Union during the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 were Board of Education workers represented by Local 73 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). As a clear favor to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, SEIU Local 73 signed a union contract with the Chicago Board of Education in August 2012, knowing that the Chicago Teachers Union was likely to be on strike in September 2012. The result of the SEIU contract (which included a no strike clause) was the the leaders of their union told school custodial, security and some special education workers to cross the CTU picket lines.

the two main leaders of SEIU Local 73, Christine Boardman (left) and Matt Brandon (right) have been outspoken supporters of the policies of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Their work included opposing the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, support for Emanuel's version of "pension reform," and a recent contribution of $25,000 to Emanuel's re-election.By the third day of the 2012 strike, it was increasingly embarrassing for many of the members of Local 73, but because of their leadership's position, they had no choice but to cross the massive picket lines from one end of Chicago to the other. Principals began reporting by the third day of the strike that there were more adults in the scab center schools than children, even though the school board and then "Chief Executive Officer" Jean-Claude Brizard were offering every possible inducement to get the kids inside the school buildings. But the kids were on the picket lines instead after the confusion of the first day of the strike, which lasted seven school days and was the first strike in a quarter century.

[But the difference between the 1987 Chicago school strike and the 2012 strike was that in 1987 all of the unions representing school workers went out and stayed out on strike together. In 2012, the largest number of scabs were ordered by their union officers to cross union picket lines. And the President of SEIU Local 73, attorney Christine Boardman, apparently later takes offense when local reporters and bloggers report her activities.

img=7604]At the time of the 1987 strike, all of the unions representing Chicago school workers were united in a coalition. The CPS custodial workers at that time were represented by SEIU, but by SEIU Local 46, which for years had been one of the most powerful and politically influential unions in Chicago. When the Amendatory Act of 1995 was passed by the Illinois General Assembly (both houses at the time being Republican) and signed by Republican Governor Jim Edgar, SEIU Local 46 still had its power, but the new law required that the Chicago Board of Education, which came under mayoral control, privatize a large amount of custodial work.

SEIU leaders objected, but within the next couple of years, SEIU was transformed. Local 46 was forced to become a part of Local 73. Instead of a union local representing CPS workers in custodial, security and some special education jobs, Local 73 included workers from across the area, from school bus drivers in Indiana to the workers on the Illinois Tollway. The process of gutting Local 46 and creating Local 73 was part of a national drive by SEIU national president Andy Stern, who became a darling of neoliberalism and an apologist for globalization before his lucrative retirement began three years ago.

By 2012, when Chicago's teachers went on strike, Local 73 was still collecting dues from thousands of members, but more and more custodial and other workers in Chicago public schools were asking why they didn't have a real union.

Instead of answering the questions, the President of Local 73 began to threaten her critics with legal action.

Here is the update from Mike Klonsky's blog. Note that he does correct his statement that Christine Boardman "signed off on" the deal to re-privatize CPS custodial workers. The rest of the material -- and the history of Local 73's relationship to Rahm Emanuel and its crossing of picket lines during the 2012 strike -- is of record.

FROM MIKE KLONSKY TWO DAYS AGO:

First, I'm glad to find that the president of SEIU Local 73 is such an avid reader of SmallTalk. I remember meeting Mayor Emanuel at a social event a while back (got friends in low places) and as he shook my hand, he said to the hosts, "Yeah, I know Klonsky. I read his blog." I retorted, "...and you're still talking to me?" The mayor answered, "It's a free country. You're entitled to your opinion."

Pres. Boardman, a quasi-public figure like the mayor, is not so generous.

Not wanting to impugn anyone's integrity and certainly not wanting to face the full might and fury of SEIU's legal department (and after consulting with my attorneys at Pro, Bono & Plead), I took Pres. Boardman's charges seriously and reread my Sept. 16th post, "The rats are having a field day at CPS" (boy, are they ever). And you know what? I think Pres. Boardman raises two good points.

First, she says my statement that she signed off on an agreement between CPS and private custodial subcontractors" is "entirely false, and has no basis whatsoever in fact."

She's probably right if you take my comment literally. I have no evidence that Pres. Boardman actually "signed off," meaning signed an actual written agreement with Aramark and SodexoMagic. In fact, I'm pretty sure she didn't. So I can retract that statement.

Second, she points to my statement, "Ugh! She's dirtier than a a CPS bathroom," as evidence that I impute "a want of integrity" on her part (who talks like that?). It's true that I may have imputed such a want of integrity. But to say a politician or union leader is "dirty", means that they are actually on the take or selling out their constituents for a price or political reward. Since I have no physical proof of any such quid pro quo, I retract the "Ugh! She's dirtier than a CPS bathroom" statement.

As my wife often reminds me: "Honey, you're better than that."

Also, have you been in a CPS bathroom lately? There's nothing dirtier.

Okay, so I'm trying to be better. I'm a work in progress.

Christine Boardman's September 26 letter to Mike Klonsky got a correction on two statements. But Boardman's record over the past couple of years includes cutting a deal with the Board of Education before the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, donating $25,000 to Rahm Emanuel's re-election, and (through her side Matt Brandon) denigrating the Chicago Teachers Union's fight against the attacks on the Municipal workers pension fund in Chicago. Additionally, on a regular basis Local 73 members in the city's schools ask CTU delegates about joining the CTU because of their disappointment with Boardman's service to her members.But after watching hundreds of those hard-working and often, life-saving school custodians lose their jobs, after Rahm privatized CPS' custodial services (not to mention the hundreds of library custodians and lunchroom ladies before them), leaving schools filthy and dangerous, and all this without much of a peep from Boardman and the Local 73 leadership, I may have been overcome by anger. I'm working on that as well.

Chicago teacher Michelle Strater Gunderson makes a great point:

All of the coverage so far, though, has been focused on building conditions and mismanagement. I see yet another side of this issue workers rights. The privatization of the work has made it almost impossible for workers to do their jobs. The hours and personnel in each building were cut drastically, and to make matters worse, Aramark just laid off 468 janitors last week.

So somebody tell me -- where was the outcry from the custodial unions defending their own members?

I searched in vain, including on the Local 73 website, for any sign of protest or public resistance.

If I'm wrong about that, show me. I welcome any and all public statements or actions taken by President Boardman or other Local 73 leaders, critical of Rahm for his privatization or for recent firings. I will gladly post them without comment.

Rahm sells his pension deal. But who was buying?

Now Pres. Boardman might argue that her union doesn't represent the fired privatized custodians and indeed she would be correct. Over the years, CPS has reduced the number of its janitors through attrition. The board now employs about 800 and private companies about 1,800, according to union officials. The former belong to SEIU Local 73, while the private-company janitors belong to SEIU Local 1. But still...

Ben Joravsky writes:

You might not think that belonging to different SEIU locals would matter much, but lately it does. Among union activists, Local 73 is known as the mayor'swell, let's just say union activists aren't too thrilled with Local 73.

REMEMBER this all came after Boardman broke ranks with the broad coalition of union leaders who were fighting back against Rahm's attack on public employees retiree pensions. The mayor wanted to raise property taxes by $250 million and increase employee contributions by 29%. One after another, union leaders and activists spoke out, from AFSCME to the FOP to the CTU. But Boardman went along.

This from the Sun-Times:

Christine Boardman, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, said she supports the basic constructs of the pension deal that impacts 10,000 of her members. Were in support of the increase in employee contributions. Were in support of the Emanuel plan to try to fund it through property tax increases. The bill is going to pass. I know that. You know that, she said. Were not gonna work against the bill. Weve told that to Speaker [Mike] Madigan. Were gonna be neutral, only because of the effect it has on retirees.

Neutral indeed.

I guess the icing on the cake for me was when Boardman then kicked in with $25,000 of her members' hard earned money as a gift to Rahm's already swollen campaign fund. A real punch in the gut, not only to the mayor's needy progressive opponents, Bob Fioretti and fellow union president Karen Lewis, but to the janitors and pensioners being screwed by the mayor's privatization deals.

More Joravsky

I guess I should have seen this donation coming. Earlier this year, Local 73 broke ranks from most of the other public employees' unions to endorse Mayor Emanuel's proposed pension plan. And last month Mayor Emanuel put Matt Brandonsecretary/treasurer of Local 73on his minimum-wage task force.

To sum up -- I retract the two statements, as requested by Pres. Boardman and her lawyers: 1) that she "signed off on an agreement between CPS and private custodial subcontractors" and 2) that she is "dirtier than a CPS bathroom."

As for her claim that she has been a consistent advocate for the rights of the custodians, I'll leave that for her members and the readers to decide.



Comments:

October 4, 2014 at 11:54 PM

By: Jim Vail

Not only SEIU

SEIU ain't the only union in this city supporting Rahm. He got cash from the others like the Teamsters, Engineers, several building trades unions and the one union that actually fought hard against the Pritzkers - Unite-Here. So much for labor solidarity these days.

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