CORE sets militant tone for May in Chicago Teachers Union

Less than two years after it mounted a successful campaign to unseat the incumbent leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) is setting a militant tone for May as the union is forced by continuing insults from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard to move towards a strike vote. Although Emanuel and his aides believed a year ago that the CTU would be unable to get the necessary 75 percent of the union's active duty members to approve a strike authorization, Emanuel himself has of late (including on May 7, 2012) gone to Springfield to lobby himself for a number of things, including, sources have said, for a "Scott Walker like" ban on strikes by CTU members.

CORE leaflet distributed to the Chicago Teachers Union meeting on May 9, 2012. Emanuel was behind the escalation of the attacks on Chicago teachers during the previous session of the Illinois General Assembly, when the law that was known as "SB 7" went through the state legislature requiring that CTU get a 75 percent vote to strike. At the time, Emanuel's aide told him that CTU had never in history been able to get that vote.

Emanuel and his lobbyists were able to get the discriminatory clause in SB 7, singling out the Chicago Teachers Union alone among Illinois unions for special mistreatment. Some of those speaking out at the time on behalf of Chicago's ruling class, including R. Eden Martin of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, demanded that the lawmakers once again ban strikes by Chicago teachers. The last time the ruling class got a complete ban on Chicago teacher strikes was in 1995, when both house of the general assembly and the governorship (Jim Edgar) were under the control of Republicans. Under the Amendatory Act of 1995, strikes by the Chicago Teachers Union and the Cook County College Teachers Union were banned. Charges by the unions that the singling out of Chicago teachers was discriminatory and racist were ignored.

The ruling class failed to get the outright ban on strikes by Chicago teachers in 2010. but came up with the discriminatory 75 percent hurdle instead. Now that widespread polling of Chicago's real public school teachers is showing that more than 75 percent of the union's active duty members are ready to authorize a strike, Emanuel has panicked and tried to "pull a Scott Walker" and completely ban the unions. Emanuel's school board has already presented the union with contract proposals during collective bargaining which would effectively end the contract as it has existed for more than 40 years.


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