How the Teachers’ Union Robbed Chicago, Again

Writing at National Review, Joshua Culling looks at the details of the Chicago teachers deal: During the Democratic National Convention I wrote about a clear contrast between the policies of Illinois natives Barack Obama and Pat Quinn, and their Wisconsin counterparts, Paul Ryan and Scott Walker. We now have another anti-reformer to add to the Illinois column: Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. The seven-school-day Chicago Teachers Union strike was extensively covered across the country, as teachers walked out of the classroom after rejecting a deal with the city that would have paid them 16 percent more over four years, coupled with a slightly greater weighting of student performance in teacher evaluations. So far as I could tell, the union’s choice was overwhelmingly portrayed in a negative light, with even the New York Times editorial page calling the strike “unnecessary,” positing that union president Karen Lewis “seem[ed] to be basking in the power of having shut down the school system.” It was an opportunity for Emanuel to take a politically popular stand against union largesse while winning serious reforms for his city’s beleaguered budget. It is sad but true that when Democratic leaders push back against unions, they are applauded for moderation, or at least left alone by observers in the media. In 2011, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature curbed collective bargaining to little fanfare. At the same time, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker pursued a similar path in Madison, but faced thousands of union protesters at his doorstep and the wrath of the New York Times and MSNBC.

Teachers Strike Hurts Families

When you put the interests of your paycheck ahead of the children you're teaching, you shouldn't be surprised that when you go on strike children are hurt.  Jeff Jacoby looks at the impact: The true long-term impact of the Chicago teachers strike may not be known for some time. But there is no mystery about its impact in the immediate term -- anxiety, panic, and disruption for myriad mothers and fathers left in the lurch when 30,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union walked away from their classrooms last week just as a new school year was getting underway. "Parents and guardians frantically sought last-minute child care, pleaded with their bosses for leniency, and hoped that their kids would return to school sooner rather than later,"reported the Chicago Sun-Times. "Citywide, for thousands of families, stress was high." The paper quoted Martina Watts, a mother in West Garfield Park, one of the city's rougher neighborhoods: "I might be losing my job over this. As long as they're on strike, I can't work. I'm not getting paid." Construction worker Allen Packer told a TV interviewer that he had to switch from full-time work to a part-time night shift so he could be home with his young daughter during the day. "I kind of understand what they're trying to do," he said of the striking teachers. "But this is not just them." He gestured toward his daughter. "It's her education, first of all. Then my paycheck for the food."

Socialist Teacher Block Deal in Chicago

Socialist Teacher Block Deal in Chicago

[media-credit name="EAG" align="alignright" width="300"][/media-credit]The Chicago Tribune reports that hard core socialists within the teacher's unions are blocking a deal to get teachers back in the classroom. It's amazing they have so much influence and power . . . or is it? Chicago teachers were anxious this morning as they walked the picket line for the seventh day, worried whether union officials will decide today to call off the strike that has kept 350,000 students out of the classroom. “I’m hoping the delegates come to their senses and know that our kids need us,” Mary Silva, a CPS social worker, said outside school headquarters. [...] But as in many labor organizations, Lewis is faced with uniting a membership that spans the political spectrum. In CTU, that ranges from high-ranking officials who have written for socialist websites to more traditional members simply concerned with working conditions. Some of those more radical factions inside and outside her labor organization are now attacking her and others in union leadership. Leaflets calling Lewis a “sellout” for concessions agreed to with CPS were distributed to union delegates at Sunday’s meeting. That phrase surfaced again among frustrated delegates as they left the meeting with few concrete details about the contract proposal and with serious concerns about what they were being asked to sign.