Going on strike is not for the faint of heart. The Trib’s Kristen McQueary is Chicago’s cross to bear.

What the Trib’s Kristen McQueary calls “strike-hungry teachers” at Logan Square’s Darwin elementary school. Have you ever seen such an evil looking bunch?

The Trib’s Kristen McQueary handles the paper’s union-bashing beat. She’s not the only Trib reporter writing anti-union crap, but she may be the most unbearable.

Maybe John Kass.

I go with McQueary.

Today she writes about a teacher whose name I won’t mention who in 2016 crossed the picket lines during the CTU’s one day strike. He’s crossing the picket lines again this week.

Kristen McQueary found the one guy who is never going to be remembered in song as another Joe Hill.

I don’t know the guy, but I knew guys like him.

There was one in 2003. He was just a terrible teacher and to my ever-lasting regret, as union president I worked really hard with administration, his principal and his colleagues to save him.

Ironically, McQueary probably would have wanted to fire this guy right away. We tried to save him.

And then in November of that year we went on strike because family health care costs to employees got too damn high.

Around the second day I was walking the line in front of the board of education headquarters when the guy came running up breathlessly to inform me that he was doing this great thing. He was calling the parents of his students to give them homework assignments.

Ironically, if McQueary heard that he was scabbing, she would have reversed course and written a glowing column about him.

“Do you understand that we are on strike?” I asked him. “Do you understand that being on strike means we withdraw our labor. No homework assignments.”

The truth is that this guy was such a terrible teacher that aside from the fact that he was scabbing on his colleagues, my intervention probably saved his students from a week of having to do some really stupid homework assignments.

The guy left town the following year.

Like the educators in the CTU, our folks had voted 90% to authorize our strike.

It was the hardest thing they ever did. Someone needs to try and explain to McQueary that nobody goes into teaching not to teach. It would probably be a waste of time explaining that to her. It would be like explaining to my guy that a strike means withholding labor.

McQueary wrote:

The terms of the contract offered were fair and not worthy of a strike, as both major newspapers in Chicago have opined, including the one owned in part by union interests.

But the strike-hungry teachers union and its 25,000 members called one anyway, which has now blocked 300,000 kids from instructional time in the classroom. 

Wonder why CPS is losing students by the thousands? This is why.

Strike-hungry teachers are why CPS is losing students?

Don’t that beat all?

After eight years of Rahm Emanuel’s privatization schemes, neighborhood disinvestment and school closings, to blame the teachers for CPS’ enrollment decline takes some chutzpah.

To Mayor Lightfoot’s credit, she has not resorted to demonizing striking teachers.

But we have the Tribune for that.


One thought on “Going on strike is not for the faint of heart. The Trib’s Kristen McQueary is Chicago’s cross to bear.

  1. Thank you for standing up for the teachers.
    Papers like the Tribune do not understand what is happening inside each school nor in each classroom. Reporters should start doing more work and learn…not just put out nonsense about ‘strike-hungry teachers’. Teachers are the experts and they know exactly what is wrong.

    Some information from Diane Ravitch’s blog:
    CPS cut the budgets of more than 200 CPS schools by at least $100,000, and cut the budgets of more than 40 schools by more than half a million dollars for this school year. CTU educators are fighting for better wages, smaller class sizes, adequate staffing, and educational justice for students and their families.
    CPS is desperately short of school nurses, social workers, librarians, special education teachers, ELL teachers and more. CPS has staffing ratios three to five times higher than those recommended by national professional organizations and best practices. Fewer than 115 school nurses serve over 500 schools. Most schools have a nurse only one day a week.
    One out of four schools has a librarian—and that number falls to barely one in ten for Black-majority schools. A decade ago, most schools had a librarian.
    CPS is desperately short of social workers and special education teachers.
    This year, more than 1,300 CPS classes are overcrowded under CPS’ own high class caps, up from more than a thousand overcrowded classrooms last year.
    Almost 25% of elementary students attend overcrowded classes, with some kindergarten classes topping 40 students. Roughly 35% of high school students are enrolled in overcrowded classes; at schools like Simeon, virtually every core class is overcrowded, with math, social studies and world language classes topping 39 students.
    The CTU’s school clerks and teaching assistants earn wages as low as $28,000/year—so low the children of two-thirds qualify for free and reduced lunch under federal poverty guidelines. Over 1,100 cannot afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment at prevailing rent rates in ANY zip code in the city. In year 5 of the mayor’s proposed contract, most of those workers would still be earning poverty wages. And in the last ten years, NO CTU member’s wages have kept pace with the inflation rate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s