Sunday review.

Six years ago.





State Representtive Celina Villanueve and CTU organizer Marty Ritter joined us on Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers at Lumpen Radio.





Blog posts.

Fifteen years ago this teacher went on strike. It was a rare thing.

Is Eric Zorn right? Does protest distort justice?

Daley and Emanuel have left us with a huge pension problem.

Illinois teacher shortage? We warned you.

Under his watch Paul Vallas covered up for a pedophile teacher. Now he wants to be Mayor?

“We are local one!” Hotel workers on strike in a union town.

Keeping retirement real. In contract bargaining there is no such thing as a premature strike vote.

Keeping retirement real. In contract bargaining there is no such thing as a premature strike vote.

Moving NBI 13 at the 2012 NEA RA calling for support of the CTU in their battle with Rahm’s hand-picked board. It passed by unanimous voice vote.

Teacher strikes are on my mind this morning.

It was six years ago that the Chicago Teachers Union was in the middle of it’s historic strike against Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked board of education.

I was not working for CPS at the time. I had retired that year from my teaching job in a suburban Chicago school district. But not before I presented a resolution to the national convention – the Representative Assembly – of the NEA calling for national support of the CTU in their battle with the mayor’s unelected school board.

As CTU organizer Marty Ritter pointed out on our radio show/podcast yesterday, the current Chicago CTU contract is up this year and bargaining begins soon.

In Los Angeles, the United Teachers of Los Angeles, (UTLA) is in the middle of bargaining.

L.A. teachers have overwhelmingly voted strike authorization.

Exposing his ignorance of the bargaining process, former advisor to former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Peter Cunningham, recently tweeted that the L.A. teacher vote was “premature.”

What is a premature strike authorization vote?

After all, it’s not a vote to strike.

And, like Illinois, California labor relations are governed by statutes, which includes timelines and requirements before a strike can take place.

A strike authorization vote being one of the requirements. A strike authorization vote has to take place way before a strike can happen.

In Illinois, the legislature created a special law that required Chicago teachers – and only Chicago teachers – to give strike authorization by approval of 75% of all members.

If only we needed that margin to elect the legislators.

I’ve been involved in strike authorization votes many times. Once we ended up having a strike. More often it didn’t. The vote was a bargaining chip and both sides have them. The vote is a message to the board that the membership stands behind its negotiators.

How can that be premature?

But that is just one of the things about the union process that Peter Cunningham doesn’t get.

Updated: The same Peter Cunningham who believes a strike authorization vote is unfair bargaining, has signed on as Bill Daley’s communications guy for Daley’s mayoral campaign in Chicago.

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Episode 81. Representative Celina Villanueva and CTU organizer Marty Ritter.

It is exactly six years since the historic strike by Chicago teachers.

I asked Chicago Teachers Union organizer (and friend) Marty Ritter about what the continuing impact of that 2012 strike was.

Brother Mike pointed out that there was a sort of symmetry to the fact that the CTU leadership has now changed as a result of President Karen Lewis’ retirement to concentrate on her health, and to Rahm’s announcement that he was not running again.

Rahm’s first term began with a challenge to the teachers union.

Marty thought that people’s view of teachers may have changed as a result of what happened here in Chicago in 2012. Before the strike there was an attempt to blame teachers for everything.

Now, just in the past week both the New York Times and Time Magazine have featured stories on the financial challenges to teachers in the most sympathetic language.

Marty pointed out that the CTU under the current leadership will continue their position of not just fighting for salary and benefits. They will continue the fight for the best learning conditions for students and underserved communities.

Representative Celina Villanueva was appointed to fill a vacant position in the 21st Representative District.

She was a community activist and organizer for immigrant rights.

She will run for the office in November and will be elected in the overwhelmingly working class and Democratic voting District.

“We need a progressive caucus in the legislature,” she told us.

Yes, we do.

The podcast is here.

“We are local one!” Hotel workers on strike in a union town.

Thousands of Chicago hotel workers, members of Unite Here Local #1, are on strike.

The issue is not complicated. Hotel workers, who are often employed seasonally, want year-round health insurance for themselves and their families.

Chicago hotels are booming.

Union workers from 26 downtown hotels converged at noon today for a 1PM rally at Ogden Plaza at the foot of the giant Sheraton Hotel on the river.

Hotel workers are every nationality, native and foreign born, joined in a boisterous chorus of Cielito Lindo before the speeches began.

What does a retired union teacher do? Join them, of course.


Hotels workers from north and south of the Chicago River marched and met each other in a giant mid-day rally.


From north of the river and South of the river they converged at Pioneer Court and rallied in Ogden Plaza in the shadow of several downtown hotels, including the massive Sheraton.



Under his watch Paul Vallas covered up for a pedophile teacher. Now he wants to be Mayor?

In the continuing unraveling of the child abuse stories at CPS, the Chicago Tribune has now come across reports of a cover-up involving former CPS CEO Paul Vallas.

I have no clue what some people find appealing about the guy. It might be nothing more than his skin color.

As the architect of Chicago school reform under Mayor Daley, partnered with Arne Duncan for a time, he was a camera hog and an educational disaster.

His ties to the SUPES scandal that sent CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to prison still have not been fully explored by the press.

HIs disastrous mostly abbreviated school leadership roles in Philly, Bridgeport and New Orleans have been well documented.

There is little doubt that his choice by Pat Quinn as a running mate in their race against Bruce Rauner was a contributing factor in Rauner’s victory.

But possible covering up for child molestors?

He has not responded to the Trib story.

What ever else might be in store for this guy, he should get out of the Chicago mayor’s race.