McHenry teachers and their board still couldn’t reach agreement last night.
Today will be day four of their strike.
This is the second strike this year in the Chicago area that I have supported by walking the lines. There are others, like in East St. Louis, that are too far for me to get to. And it seems like there are others in the pipe line.
Many retired union teachers do this kind of strike support and, trust me, it is appreciated.
My blog post from Sunday has been reposted by McHenry teachers and others around the state. That pleases me, since that is what this blog is for.
As I was driving the hour back to Chicago from McHenry on Sunday I had time to think about unions, collective bargaining and how impressive classroom teachers are as organizers.
This is important in light of the possibility that the US Supreme Court may rule against our rights to Fair Share and agency fees very soon.
I was impressed, but not surprised, at how well organized the McHenry teachers are. It reminded me so much of the strike our local had back in 2003. Organizing ourselves is what teachers are trained to do. And we do it well. Collectively, we have every skill needed to run a strike.
And although teaching is often a solitary act of one teacher with a group of students, it has gotten less and less so. Working in teams has become more and more a feature of teaching.
Collective bargaining, including strikes, is a team sport.
To preserve and improve their salary schedule and to guarantee it for future teachers McHenry teachers voted to strike and do whatever it takes to come to a fair agreement.
No Supreme Court ruling about agency fees will matter if our union leadership remembers that.
What Bruce Rauner and the union-bashers need to remember is that before we won the right to collective bargaining in Illinois thirty years ago, there were far more strikes than there are now.
The right to collectively bargain a contract brought a period of relative labor peace to school districts around the state.
Undermine that right and more teacher strikes are inevitable.
And teachers know how to do it well.