My cartoon from 2015.
“But with Aug. 29 fast approaching and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu making media rounds, including at the Tribune Editorial Board, I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops.”
That’s what Kristen McQueary wrote in a Trib column in 2015 causing a journalistic storm of hurricane strength.
First there was the Red-baiting finger waving at Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, lecturing the respected union leader to get control over her “radical faction.”
This kind of stuff is not new to the Tribune which has a reputation for Communist witch huntery that goes back decades to their “enthusiastic support for Joe McCarthy.”
I’d like to believe reasonable rank-and-file teachers …would understand it more clearly if Lewis stepped off her soapbox, stood up to the radical wing within her union and quit the red meat-slinging.
The Chicago Teachers Union is a democratic organization. Thanks to Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children and the Illinois legislature, Chicago Teachers Union members, unlike every other teacher bargaining unit in the state of Illinois must vote to strike by a 75% majority – not a simple 50%.
No radical faction decides anything.
What bout the 7% pension pick-up by CPS.
It was the result of collective bargaining and both sides agreed. It was compensation in lieu of a salary increase. Other school district do the same thing. McQueary admits this when she writes, “And many teachers in the suburbs and downstate pay 9 percent toward their pensions without their school districts picking up a portion of that.”
“Many teachers” means that other teachers down state don’t pay the full 9% as a result of collective bargaining. McQueary knows this.
To say exactly how many I would have to go and read every collective bargaining agreement in the state, but I have been told by those that know that upwards of 40% of contracts include a full or partial pension pick-up by the boards of education.
Pension pick-ups are a part of a bargained compensation agreement. Some years an agreement will result in a 2% raise. Other years it may be 4%. Forrest Claypool and Rahm’s demand that the CTU give back the 7% pension pick-up would be like Claypool and Rahm saying, “You know that 4% we gave you several years ago. We now think that was too much. Give it back.”
Wait! They already did that.
The cost to teachers of giving the 7% is huge.
Since this year’s salary is the base for any percentage raise next year – and the year after that and so on – the 7% compounds and will cost a teacher thousands and thousands of dollars over the course of their career.
You don’t need a radical faction to see how wrong that is without getting something in return.