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'My win is a win for all CTU members!'... Juarez corruption exposed as delegate wins major unfair labor practice decision...

"It was a hard battle," Manuel Bermudez told Substance. "I had three goals when I started this fight, now I only have two more, but I think they will fall into place. Don't forget to put that due process for teachers was violated and now we have it back. Principals need to think twice before firing teachers at will. My win is a win for all CTU members. I could promise you that all of the CPS principals are keeping up with this story and are going to be extremely cautious when it comes to getting rid of teachers."

In an eight page written decision, the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB) gave the delegate this victory:

"(a) Reinstate complainant to Juarez, effective at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, with no loss of seniority, contractual increases & benefits, step or lane, sick or vacation days

(b) Pay complainant $49,000 as pensionable back pay, plus legally required deductions; (c) Affirm that complainant was not issued a performance evaluation rating for the 2013-2014 school year, and place complainant on a biennial evaluation cycle such that he shall next receive a performance evaluation rating for the 2016 – 2017 school year; (d) Assign complainant to the Reassiagned Teacher Pool effective May 26, 2015 through the conclusion of the 2014 – 2015 school year under the terms of the 2012 – 2015 BOARD – UNION collective bargaining agreement."

The victory was won despite every effort by the principal and some administrators at Juarez to undermine the union's power and the authority and power of the union delegate. In September 2015, Bermudez will return as a teacher to Juarez High School, and he has been paid in full for the time that he has been removed from the school illegally.

Juarez High School delegate Manuel Bermudez (above left) and Chicago Teachers Union field rep John Kugler (right) have won a major battle before the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. The decision restores the beginning of integrity to Juarez High School, which had been celebrated for its frauds by Arne Duncan, even after teachers and Bermudez exposed the frauds."I said it from the beginning it was never about the money it was about the children and teachers earning their respect," he continued. But the money that he was awarded had to be part of the deal. "We had lost our respect a long time ago and now we have gained it back. I tell everyone this is just a part of the fight. We have much more to accomplish. As educators, CPS doesn't have to like us but they will respect us. I have earned our respect, Principal Ocon didn't hurt me -- he made me stronger. And he united my CTU brothers and sister at Benito Juarez Stronger than ever."

Some of the Juarez story was reported in the corporate media, but the most extensive coverage was done by the Spanish-language television and radio.

The Juarez High School administration eliminated the position of Bermudez, after he exposed the corruption at the school. That corruption, which included rigging attendance data, resulted in praise from the U.S. Department of Education and a highly publicized visit to the school by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Because the school administration also had clout with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the principal and others who had orchestrated the fraud believed they could get away with it all.

The victory was also noted during the June 3, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates, and reported by John Kugler on behalf of the union's grievance department.

One example from the Spanish language media:

POR: ANTONIO ZAVALA

02 JUNIO 2015

Manuel Bermúdez, un maestro hispano de la Academia Comunitaria Benito Juárez regresará a las aulas el 8 de septiembre después que lo despidieron el año pasado por cuestionar las prácticas de cambiar los grados y la asistencia de los estudiantes bajo un controversial programa llamado ‘Benchmark Recovery’.

La administración del director Juan Carlos Ocon despidió al maestro bilingüe de computación que era el representante del Sindicato de Maestros de Chicago (CTU) y tenía 10 años trabajando ahí.

Ahora, bajo un acuerdo entre la Junta de Educación de CPS y CTU, a Bermúdez le regresan no solo su trabajo sino un año de pago atrasado, sus vacaciones, antigüedad y otras prestaciones.

Este acuerdo pone fin a una audiencia que estaba programa para el 27 de mayo con el Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board en la que debía dar testimonio Bárbara Byrd-Bennet, la expresidenta de CPS, quien por su cuenta está envuelta en un escándalo. También el director Ocon estaba programado a dar testimonio sobre el despido de Bermúdez.

Esa audiencia ya no se llevará a cabo así que el público ya no sabrá qué habría salido de ahí ya que Bermúdez le informó a Byrd-Bennet sobre su despido y las irregularidades en la Academia Juárez casi desde junio de 2014.

Pero la secundaria Juárez aún no queda libre de ser investigada. La oficina del inspector general de las Escuelas Públicas de Chicago continúa investigando por su parte las denuncias hechas contra este plantel en Pilsen. Está secundaria donde asisten 1,729 alumnos, en su mayoría hispanos, tiene uno de los peores rendimientos académicos de la ciudad y el estado. La escuela también sufre de un alto número de ausencias.

Además, algo que quizás se pueda remediar de aquí en adelante, es el hecho que este plantel siempre ha tenido miembros del concilio local escolar que han fallado en cuestionar y presionar a los directores para mejorar la educación.

El concilio actual tiene a dos valiosos miembros, Álvaro Obregón, quien trabaja para el comisionado Jesús Garcia; y Vicente Sanchez, quien trabaja para el concejal Daniel Solís. Quizás ellos puedan tomar el liderazgo para transformar a esta escuela en una de calidad y dejar los escándalos atrás.

Por su parte Bermúdez dice sentirse reivindicado y promete trabajar con empeño para el beneficio de los estudiantes pero advierte que de ver otra irregularidad no dudara en denunciarla.

El originario de Jerez, Zacatecas, dijo que pasó un año difícil sin “chamba” pero que solo su fe en Dios lo mantuvo firme. “Había días que ya no teníamos que comer, el refrigerador estaba vacío y mis hijos me preguntaban qué está pasando,” finalizó.

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Comments:

June 7, 2015 at 12:04 PM

By: Manuel Bermudez

Respect

A victory for one is a victory for all. Fight with courage and integrity and earn your respect.

June 7, 2015 at 12:16 PM

By: Susan Geuder

The Cost of Winning

Once again, be careful about celebrating too soon. I also won in court and my return to school was pure Hell. CPS will put a target on your back and the REACH evaluations give principals the power to get rid of Union troublemakers. I am still looking for a job.

June 7, 2015 at 12:27 PM

By: Nicholas Torres

The success of Bermudez's hard fought journey

As a former student of yours, I have to say that I am truly happy with the outcome of your case. It gives me great inspiration to see that you were facing so much adversity, yet you kept fighting. And as a result of that you won and you will continue to do what you love to do most. I'm sad that I will not be able to see you teaching as I will be off to college in the fall. However, I do wish to come back and visit at any chance I get.

June 7, 2015 at 12:35 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Former Orr delegate's anonymous racism...

I just removed an anonymous racism rant from this thread, but for those who bothered to read it during the four or five hours it was up, it came from Kris Rudzinski, who sold out his union brothers and sisters while delegate from Orr High School during the years of transitions from one "school reform" fetish (small schools) to another (AUSL's "turnaround"). We took down the racist attack, as usual, but wanted those who had read it while it was up to know where it had originated.

June 7, 2015 at 4:39 PM

By: Bob Busch

our union

I do not know anything about this Kris guy

so do not associate me with him.My problem is with the way the CTU keeps important information from its members.Today I got an email to go to a rally downtown.When these rallies are to end the prohibited areas of negotiations i will be there. When the union prints a explanation of the immunity principals and others have from prosecution

while screwing teachers I will listen.

The CTU needs to get these laws lifted so we can argue class size and staffing levels

instead of fighting for another tiny raise.CPS pay is an absolute joke to our suburban teachers anyhow.

June 7, 2015 at 7:54 PM

By: Enrique Romero

Welcome back Mannie!!!

Welcome back Mannie!!! I never had a doubt that you would prevail. Our Union is only as strong as the delegates that enforce our contract and make sure that our rights are not violated. You defended us even though it painted a bull’s eye target on your back when you filed grievances on behalf of the teachers and you kept on fighting to the end. We will give you the “home coming” you deserve in September. I can tell you that we are all waiting to see you walking the halls of Juarez H.S. again. We need more people like you, dedicated to give the best education our students deserve and defending the rights of all union members. When you won this case you did it for all of us!!!

Thank you for fighting for us and all the Teachers in Chicago.

Enrique Romero

Social Studies Teacher

Benito Juarez Community Academy

June 8, 2015 at 2:03 AM

By: Rose Moore

Manny Bermudez

Great job Manny. I was told this quote "I never loose, I always win" Jehovah is not partial. He created all people. Some have not yet grown into their intelligence. It's a sad thing to remain stupid, and even sader to be a follower of what is stupid. Watch yourself Manny, keep praying and read your bible daily.

June 8, 2015 at 9:09 PM

By: David R. Stone

Rally anyway

Why does Bob Busch use a positive article about a union brother wining a grievance as an occasion to post his negative comment about how the union could be doing more?

True, CTU should be fighting harder to overturn anti-union laws in Springfield -- but the contract negotiations are serious, too. A massive rally can give us strength in ALL our fights.

Bob (and everyone) please join us at the rally!

June 8, 2015 at 9:53 PM

By: Jabbar Eggleston

Overcoming Injustice

Congratulations Manny for this hard fought victory. You showed us all how to stand up for what we believe in even against seemingly insurmountable odds. See, with God nothing is impossible to them that believe! As you stated, this fight was much bigger than you. This fight was a fight for justice for students, parents and teachers who have been silenced due to the fear of bullying, retaliation and corporate greed. Thank you for sacrificing your livelihood for the livelihood of others. Your act of love and compassion for your fellow man was a true act of selflessness and courage! Everything that happens in the dark will always come to the light, and with people like yourself who aren't afraid to shine a spotlight on injustice when you see it happening our future looks hopeful once again. Congratulations on your righteous vindication, and may God continue to bless your comings and your goings. Welcome back!

June 8, 2015 at 11:42 PM

By: Mildred Chatman

A win for the union

Congratulations Mr.Bermudez union delegate.You are a inspiration for all to see your dedication for standing up for what is right is commendable and it took alot of courage. Students,parents,and teachers will be forever grateful for you continue to do good as good will always follow you.

June 9, 2015 at 7:00 AM

By: Bob Busch

contract

I am trying to wake up the CTU, or at least get people to ask questions.Our Contract is a hollow document so compromised by state law that it's almost useless.I would like our union to attack, for once, these roadblocks to progress instead of fighting for a pittance raise.

Ps. in 1995 I replaced a teacher who then went to work in the suburbs.I retired in 2011

after 41 years at a salary of almost 80 grand.The person in the suburbs made 139 grand.Now that is a big difference for doing the same job.Before you ask me why I didn't go to work in the burbs ask yourself who has a harder job and why are we so underpaid,better yet ask the union.

June 10, 2015 at 12:55 AM

By: David R. Stone

Unionism vs. racism & classism

It is true that teachers can make more money in the suburbs than in Chicago's public schools -- but don't blame the CTU contract. The difference comes from the state's failure to fund schools equitably.

Wealthy suburbs will always have more money to spend as long as education funding is tied to local property taxes. CTU does more than negotiate for wages and benefits. It also fights against racist school closings, discriminatory layoffs, and all sorts programs that divert public funds to private corporations.

The union by itself cannot win the fight against segregation by economic class and race -- but we are fighting the good fight. Without the union, things would be worse for teachers -- and for everyone.

June 10, 2015 at 6:48 AM

By: Dr. Rita D. Hernandez

Manuel Bermudez and Juarez Academy scandal

Congrats to Manny for his persistence. That school was fought for by the Mexican community and the powers that be have never given the community the respect it deserves.This was one Mexican who stood up, like Emiliano Zapata & Cesar Chavez, and said, No more! Ya basta!" Bermudez took up the mantle and fought the flagrant corruption of the CPS and particularly of the administration at Benito Juarez. Frankly, all of these administrators involved should be removed after dishonoring the people, students, community, and dare I say, Juarez Teachers! Shame on these administrators and all involve in the dirty business! Sinverguenzas!!!

You did it Manny. You had many people rooting for you and victory for Juarez Academy!

June 10, 2015 at 7:01 AM

By: Bob Busch

Funding

What people make is their business,I only wanted to show the disparity between the pay of veteran High School teachers.I blame that on our one size fits all pay scale.

Do we realize that CPS gets 58% of its total

revenue from non local sources? Many suburbs get less than 15% if the state ever funds schools equably CPS will take a real hit.

I am glad CTU has become such a staunch

opponent of school closings and layoffs,and programs that divert money to private corporations. But do you realize the CTU cannot negotiate any of those things?Our union is forbidden to by state law. Only salary is not a prohibited area.

Property taxes are a problem.Chicago pays the lowest rate around.Raise its rate to the burbs,re-assess all Chicago property and CPS will be swimming in geld.

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