Random thoughts. Yelling from the sidelines.


I don’t go to Little League and other kid league sports. When they were little, my own kids had interests other than playing sports. I hear that there is a problem with parents on the sidelines getting too involved. They yell at the volunteer coaches and get into fights with the refs.

The Chicago Teachers Union has been without a contract for over a year. The CPS board has finally decided to start real bargaining and presented an offer. There is no deal yet.

That there is no deal hasn’t prevented those on the sidelines from jumping in with their opinions – all on the basis of CPS-leaked reports to the press.

I’m not referring to teachers covered by the collective bargaining agreement. I mean from those that aren’t covered by it and haven’t seen the offer.

I posted on Facebook yesterday:

Of course it is true that what happens as a result of the contract negotiations between the CTU and CPS will have an impact beyond the members of the CTU. But I have always felt, and still feel, that it primarily important to the members who must live and work with it. It belongs to them and to the board. I don’t think it is helpful to the good and decent people who sit on the bargaining team, nor is it helpful to the members who are actually covered by the collective bargaining agreement, to have those who aren’t covered by it be the first to jump out with their opinions, particularly when the bargaining isn’t done yet.

I bargained many union contracts.

Rich was a good friend and a colleague. He never saw a contract he approved of. He voted against every offer the board ever made. It was never good enough. I always laughed when we talked about it. Rich figured that if the contract was good enough for most people it would get approved in spite of his no vote. And if enough people were unhappy, his no vote would help. I always thought it wasn’t such a bad idea to get no votes even on the best deal we could get. It made the board a little worried. And it didn’t hurt to keep those of us who bargained a little worried too.

But Rich was part of our bargaining unit. The contract belonged to Rich. He had to work with the conditions and for the compensation we bargained. In the end, he owned it.

As for the sideline critics? They have no standing here.

9 Replies to “Random thoughts. Yelling from the sidelines.”

  1. Dear Fred,
    You are right. They are the ones who have to live with it. They will make the best choice they can. No need for the rest of us to criticize.

    Funny how some of the “critics” I hear now were never quite willing to do in their own negotiations what they demand the teachers do now. Some were willing to sell other unions out if it meant that they would get a little more or lose a little less. Some were also willing to teachers under the bus regarding SB7 and SB1 to avoid the possibility of cuts to their own benefits.

    Now all workers are under the gun with Bruce and company. Some would still rather have others (like us) carry the fight rather than stand up themselves. Not as much fun for them when they are in the barrel too. But some of them still want others to say no so they won’t have to. Hence the “critics”.

    Have so many forgotten who they really are? They are not members of Bruce’s elite and never will be. We all work for a living. Time for us to recognize that workers either stand together or lose one by one. Time to support your fellow workers. Stop sacrificing the interests of others to avoid your own fights.

    When it is your turn, do the best you can and expect everyone to support your decisions because we all stand together. CPS teachers deserve no less.

  2. The pension pickup should be a non-negotiable issue for the C.T.U. One cannot give these pension deform, governmental apparachiks one inch or they take all of it in future contract talks.

    Stop the bullying CPS and if bullying is occurring within the teachers union to accept this diminishing of total pension dispersal upon retirement, then the C.T.U. has sold out their members.

    CPS cannot be trusted with fairly administrating any apparatus that involves working conditions, evaluations, or monetary compensation. Its a fact and the historical evidence is there for all to see.
    Except for the galactically sycophantic apologists for this corrupt system.

    1. “Non-negotiable”? “If bullying is occurring within the CTU”? A lot of statements and accusations from somebody who won’t say who they are. If you are a CTU member, you have a way to express yourself. If you are not, you have no standing.

    2. ANY item subject to negotiation is just that: “negotiable”. The pension pickup was first accepted as a trade for no monetary raise. C.T.U. might well trade it back for something else.

      Negotiators face a difficult C.P.S. created public relations problem. Pension pickup has been deceitfully framed as “teachers get a free pension”. Maybe the solution to this problem is trading away the pickup to get other things teachers value more.

      It is their choice and their call. If you think their choices threaten a benefit you have, YOU need to get ready to defend your benefit. They are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances. Don’t expect them to seek a pyrrhic victory on pension pickup so you don’t have to defend your benefit when your contract is up.

      All contract negotiations have wins and losses. Other negotiable items may have more value to C.T.U. membership. The choice, again, is theirs not ours.

  3. My fiance and I were both CPS Teachers. The union in 2010 was about as much help for falsely accused teachers who were E-3rd as the Aids virus would be to a hemophiliac These unjustly displaced teachers were targeted because of their future pension liability if there chose to work for 25 or 30 years instead of being cashiered at 20 years or less in some cases.

    My fiance was one of many who were falsely accused of being inept and forced to resign because Grahm Hill, attorney for the C.T.U. stated there was nothing that could be accomplished fighting this injustice because the state BOE is on the principals side. To which she responded “Then what the hell good are you or the union?”

    More to come later.

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