Chicago is a union town. Public schools and charter schools prepare for a shut down.


“The Chicago Teachers Union is the most democratic union in the country,” President Karen Lewis told the crowd at The Girl Talk with Erika Wozniak and Jen Sabella last week.

It wasn’t boasting. And it really wasn’t a criticism of anyone else.

She was responding to the Chicago Tribune’s laughable  editorial attacking the second time Chicago union teachers voted strike authorization. The Tribune compared the CTU to North Korea.


The clock is ticking on the strike deadline of Tuesday.

As a result of a law that the state teacher unions, the IFT and the IEA, supported, the CTU and CPS can only bargain and the CTU can only legally strike over salary and benefits.

It was the same law that requires the CTU to get no less than 75% of their members  to authorize a strike.

It was the same law that links teacher evaluation to individual student test scores.

And it undermined teacher seniority and tenure rights.

And that was the law the IFT and the IEA supported as, in the words of IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin, teacher-driven reforms.

“They did us a favor,” President Lewis laughingly said. “It requires us to mobilize our members.”

Trust me. Lewis doesn’t think SB 7 did them any favors.

It is also why there is so much talk about the 7% pension pickup and the ridiculous claim by the board  and the Mayor that what they have so far offered is a pay increase when it is a pay cut.

But don’t believe for a moment that the discussion at the bargaining table isn’t about class size, support services and adequate staffing, no matter what the law says.


UNO union teachers prepare for first charter teachers strike in the country.

Meanwhile Chicago – the union town – is facing the first strike by charter school teachers in the history of the United States.

Teachers at the large and scandal-ridden UNO Charter chain voted overwhelmingly to strike October 19th if a contract isn’t agreed to.

The vote was nearly unanimous with 531 out of 532 unionized ACTS members voting to authorize a walkout.

Who was the one no vote? It doesn’t really matter, does it?

“Our members have overwhelmingly voted to send a strong message to management that they need to step up and do the right thing for our kids and our schools. Now it’s management’s turn to show their dedication to the employees they claim to value — and the students whose lives are in their hands,” Erica Stewart, a fifth-grade teacher at the Sandra Cisneros UCSN campus in Brighton Park and a member of the bargaining team told the Sun-Times.


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