Wednesday, February 10, 2021


This is from Chalkbeat Chicago:

After a tense standoff that threatened a strike in the nation’s third largest city, Chicago teachers voted in favor of a school reopening deal that allows buildings to reopen their doors as soon as this week.

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union voted in favor of the agreement Wednesday — with 67% voting in favor and 32% voting against. The union said 20,275 of more than 25,000 eligible teachers cast ballots. The vote came after the union’s leadership body overwhelmingly voted in favor of sending the deal to members Monday night.

“This plan is not what any of us deserve. Not us. Not our students. Not their families,” union President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “The (agreement) represents the absolute limit to which CPS was willing to go at the bargaining table.”

For those looking for the details:

Reached after what officials ultimately said was more than 80 meetings, the agreement between Chicago Public Schools and the union promises regular surveillance testing of teachers and sets aside weekly vaccine dosage guarantees for union members. It offers more work-from-home accommodations to educators with high-risk family members and establishes a trifecta of metrics to determine when schools stay open or close should rates spike. It also paves the way for a student-testing protocol for children at 134 schools in neighborhoods with the highest COVID-19 rates.

A side letter allows educators who were locked out of their virtual classrooms in January for refusing to work in-person to resume remote teaching.

In the Chicago SunTimes story on the vote, they note a CTU no-confidence vote against Mayor Lori Lightfoot:

The union’s representative governing body, its 600-member House of Delegates, issued a vote of no confidence in Lightfoot and her schools leaders Monday with 90% approval.

Why did CTU give in? You are not going to like the answer, probably. It's because the CTU was not willing to risk engaging in an illegal strike. 

From an earlier SunTimes story:

In the scenario that the full membership rejects the terms, CTU and CPS would head back to the bargaining table and more than likely toward mass lockouts of teachers and a strike. Union vice president Stacy Davis Gates told members in a meeting Sunday that a potential strike “wouldn’t be less than 15 days,” which is how long the 2019 teachers strike stretched on. In the case of a strike, [CTU President Jesse]Sharkey noted that the union could face “legal repercussions.”

“If the strike was declared illegal, people could not make up the pay and the board could levy fines against both individual teachers and the union,” he said during the call.

I would say the CTU caved in this settlement although they stretched out the process for as long as they could to reopen the school buildings, high schools are staying fully remote, and they did get guaranteed vaccines. When it came to risking fines for striking, even the CTU didn't have the stomach for it. Will this have a long lasting impact? Time will tell.


Anonymous said...

These laws that prevent workers from striking need to go. Straight up unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

California had a near-universal mask compliance rate, right?

So, what explains the 1 million cases in six weeks that occurred during the holidays if masks indeed work. The Danish found out that wearing them might do exactly jack shit.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but CTU members had the opportunity to vote. When did UFT members vote on going back to elementary or middle school? The UFT is supposed to be a union, not a dictatorship. June is coming for the UFT - Mulgrew better get his dancing shoes on.

James Eterno said...

Good oint on Chicago teachers voting on the deal. C teachers didn't vote on any of Mulgrew's pandemic deals.

International LBor Organization of the UN has already ruled that the anti-strike provisions of the Taylor Law are a human rights violation.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it: Teachers that refused to work in person are still going to be allowed to work at home? That is awesome! Why can't we have that choice here?

Shelley said...

Voting on something doesn't make the process democratic, doesn't hide the fact that the teachers, the union members in CTU, like the teachers and members in UFT were largely ignored and silenced.

Anonymous said...

Just received an email from my principal that indicated that all staff w/o accoms will be required to come into the building on April 24th to proctor the SAT. Looking forward to asking
UFT about this at today's DA!

Anonymous said...

True that 2:11. Without the power of a vote, the rank and file is weakened.

Anonymous said...

Shelly, do you have more info on teachers, the union members in CTU being silenced? Curious what happened over there.

Anonymous said...

Sounds about right. Add it to the list of human rights violations in the US.

Anonymous said...

Shelly voting makes all the difference. Many of us will be doing so with our wallets next June.

Shelley said...

The numbers James provides, and the pro-CTU slant, his bias is obvious as he has been advocating that the UFT could be Chicago (CTU) even as this is neither possible nor desirable, should be scrutinized. At the end his post, James is an apologist for the CTU and their betrayal of the workers. The vote was just north of 50% of eligible voters. Why so many, 20% did not vote needs to be analyzed. why so many turned and abandoned the fight needs to be evaluated.

As I said previously, a vote doesn't make the process democratic.

What went down in the so-called vote? How was it conducted? Why the low participation rate when the stakes are so high?

We need to consider the sway of the leadership and the pressure of the AFT, and the democratic machinery, the rush and pressure of a Sunday meeting, where rank and file were silenced, the chat was shut down, and members were subjected to fear mongering sell-out by the same leadership that had been rallying them by comparing the risks to their lives to the risks faced by coal miners.

And, what of the machines? Educators have now become dependent on machines to earn their bread. Tough these machines are now in the workers homes, where the workers live and raise their families, but where the governments and the corporate partners control access. The machines would be shut down, not by luddite workers but by the democratic government and their business partners. And the so-called union fails to see the irony.

A sad day for all workers as the failure in Chicago will have a lasting impact on workers for decades.

Thank whatever gods may be that I am retiring from this madness and farce.

James Eterno said...

Shelley, I am not pro-CTU here.