STRIKEWATCH: On Wednesday, August 8, 2012, CORE will host its second forum on Chicago Teachers Union strikes featuring veteran teachers who built the union by walking the line

CORE is hosting the second forum of the summer on CTU strike history this Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at the Apostolic Faith Church, Southeast corner of Berteau and Laramie (4200 N, 5200 W) on Chicago's northwest side. Entry for our event will be through the side door.

Chicago Teachers Union President Jacqueline Vaughn (above with bullhorn) visited picket lines in the mornings during the 19-day strike of the CTU and the "Coalition of Chicago School Employees" in September 1987. The 1987 strike resulted in the strongest contract in the unions' histories for all the unions representing those who worked in Chicago's public schools. For teachers, the contract included complete "recall" rights for both regularly assigned teachers and FTBs (full time substitutes), fully paid medical and dental insurance, and the complete victory of the union's pay schedules, including "Lanes" (for advanced study) and "Steps" (as teachers became more experienced in their professions). The decision by Mrs. Vaughn's successors to stop striking after her January 1994 death resulted in the slow degeneration of teachers' contractual rights. By 2005, the union's leadership, then under Marilyn Stewart, was willing to hire a teacher who had scabbed during the 1987 strike for a union job.The forum will feature presentations from several retired Chicago Teachers Union activists who will go over details from all of the union's successful strikes from the 1960s through the 1980s. In addition to explaining how strikes are organized and won, the panelists will explain the contractual gains that were won through those strikes. Speakers will include retired CTU Field Rep Paul Odell, retired school nurse (and current retiree delegate) Helen Ramirez Odell, retiree delegate (and former pension fund trustee) Lois Nelson, retired Caver High School delegate (and current retiree delegate) Theresa Daniels, retired Prosser Vocational High School Delegate Lotty Blumenthal, and this reporter (currently a retiree delegate and former delegate from high schools, including Amundsen, during the 1987 strike, and Bowen).

CORE is scheduled to have the meeting room from 4 to 9 so that people can arrive for informal conversation early. The session will begin at 5:00 and end at 7:00. Materials about picket line militancy and strike discipline will be distributed, and those attending will be able to join CORE.

The August 8 event is the first CORE forum on the "far northwest side" (albeit a block from the Substance office and Schmidt home).

CORE and Substance will also provide people with a list of good restaurants in the area if people want to relax later. A Substance favorite is La Pena, an Ecudorean restaurant in the 4200 block of N. Milwaukee.

The final strike forum of the summer will be held at Sulzer Library later in the month. Those who are interested can consult the CORE website and Substance.

CORE and Substance are also working with Labor Beat on a half hour video history about CTU strikes, featuring a dozen veteran teachers, now retirees, who helped lead the rank and file during those strikes, from the 1960s through the famous 19-day strike of 1987, which won the strongest CTU contract in history. 


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