Gusty winds today in Chicago. Strike fever is in the air.

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The educators at Aspira announced plan to strike on March 17 if a not reached before!

We are getting 50 mile an hour wind gusts in Chicago today.

The sky is blue. The air is clear.

And strike talk is all in the air.

If a deal isn’t worked out my March 17th teachers at the Chicago Aspira charter network will walk. If they do they will be the first union strike at a charter school anywhere.

Chicago is ground zero for charter school union organizing.

The ASPIRA charter network includes about 100 teachers and 1,500 predominantly low-income Latino students within three high schools and one middle school across the city. Last month, 92 of the union’s 93 participating bargaining unit members voted to authorize a strike. The teachers’ three-year contract expired last June.

Meanwhile the aldermen who make up the Chicago City Council’s Progressive Caucus (Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers will have Progressive Caucus member Alderman Sue Sadlowski Garza on the show for a full hour Friday at 11AM. 105.5 FM at LumpenRadio.com) has  voiced support for the union organizing efforts at the Noble Network of charter schools.

The council’s Progressive Reform Caucus said it “supports the efforts of all teachers to organize and to bargain collectively, to improve their working conditions and the educational conditions of their students,” in a letter sent Monday to Noble Superintendent Michael Milkie and the charter network’s board.

Teachers at Noble announced last week they were taking their first steps toward forming a union. One Noble school is named for one of its benefactors, Governor Bruce Rauner. A union at Noble would be the largest of its kind in the nation.

The Progressive Caucus joined Cook County Commissioner and former mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, city Treasurer Kurt Summers, Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, and Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th, as elected officials who have publicly come out in support of the organization effort at Noble.

The publicly funded Noble charter network is supported by Rauner, the billionaire Pritzker family and Chicago Board of Education President Frank Clark.

Late today Sun-Times reporter Lauren FitzPatrick Tweeted:

Last year when the CTU was still negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, teachers held a one day strike, April 1.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool nearly peed in his pants, denouncing the union for not caring about the students.

“Chicago’s students need their leaders to work together to convince Springfield to provide meaningful revenue reforms — not go on strike,” schools chief executive Forrest Claypool said in a statement, adding that he was “particularly disappointed that the CTU leadership has given Governor Rauner more ammunition in his misguided attempt to bankrupt and take over Chicago Public Schools.”

Claypool is now whistling a different tune, threatening to shut down CPS two weeks early and imposing four furlough days.

One more thing.

Illinois state employees, members of AFSCME, have voted by more than 80% to authorize a walk-out.

Governor Rauner has attempted to impose a contract settlement, claiming the union and negotiators are at impasse.

A judge last week ruled the Governor’s actions were illegal.

The winds are blowing.

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