CTU members poised to reject May 1 so-called 'strike' by huge majority... If the rank and file actually get to vote on the question!

On the first anniversary of the first-ever one-day so-called "strike" (that was on April 1, 2016) by the Chicago Teachers Union, members across Chicago are poised to reject the call by the union's leaders for another one-day "strike" if the union's leaders try to bring the question to a vote of the members. Despite intense efforts by the union's four officers and some of the union's staff (especially in the union's "Organizing Department"), an informal survey of the union's most militant schools by members of the Substance staff is showing that there is not one high school in Chicago Public Schools where the majority of the members are in favor of this latest one-day "strike," while at many high schools the opposition to the proposal is unanimous, or nearly so.

The pushback against the latest push from the union's officers comes as a result of the members' disappointment with the contract, which was pushed through at the last minute at nearly midnight on Columbus Day 2016, when the union was ready to strike the following morning. Despite the fact that the union's officers managed to get membership approval for the proposed contact that they brought to the members in October 2016, resentment of the contract, which extended from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2019, has grown as the members have experienced first hand the actual terms of the deal they were told was great.

Two major disappointments registered to many members that they had been sold out: The paltry (or non-existent) "retroactive pay" that was due on December 23, 2016, and the announcement by the Board of Education in January 2017 that it was forcing all CPS workers to take four "furlough days" between February and June 2017 in order to balance a budget that CPS officials claim cannot remain in the black by any other means. Because the union leadership no longer has an independent way of analyzing CPS budget claims, the union's members were stuck behind whatever CPS "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool and his management team claim to be the school system's financial realities. For nearly four years, the CTU officers have refused to staff one of the most important of the union's standing committees, the "School Finance and Taxation" committee. For nearly 50 years, that committee regularly reported to the union on the union's analysis of CPS finances. No more.

Beginning in 2014 - 2015, the CTU leadership aligned itself uncritically with the CPS version of financial reality, claiming that the only way that Chicago's schools could get more money for the schools was through "Springfield." There has been no analysis of other sources of revenue, specially local property taxes in Chicago, since the union's officers lined up with the position taken by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his appointed CPS executive leadership. Along with the claim that more revenue was required for Chicago's schools, the CTU officers and some of the union's staff have also proclaimed that the only acceptable revenue solutions have to be in the form of so-called "progressive revenue solutions" -- meaning higher taxes on the wealthy. While a number of suggestions have been made, some over and over and over, by the union's leaders about how such "progressive revenue solutions" might be done, the main roadblock to such in Illinois is the fact that the current Illinois Constitution bars a graduated state income tax. The union has not tried to get the Illinois Constitution changed, and a handful of bills in Springfield to provide some revenue relief have gone nowhere.


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