Monday, September 17, 2012


One of the many movies that I never can actually sit through because I only like a few scenes is "I'm Not Rappaport," starring Ossie Davies and Walter Matthau. The movie begins with the 1907 NYC Garment District Union Strike Vote Meeting where a police-battered Diana Agostini of the Ladies Garment Workers Union calls for the strike.

That scene comes to mind repeatedly as I have conversations about the now historic 2012 Chicago Teachers Union Strike. The mayors office, fueled by a very compliant media, is doing a bang up job of villainizing the teachers, saying they are using the children of Chicago as pawns and holding them hostage for their own gain. Unfortunately, parents in both IL and neighboring IN are eating this up, blaming and verbally attacking teachers for being "selfish." Today broadcast news is reporting, in an advertising matter, that parents who are generally fed up are enrolling their children in charter schools.

Riddle me this, if I as a professional and expert in my field am telling you that my current work environment is hostile and it is near impossible to do my job well, where in the professional world does a boss just shrug off my view? In the world where failure means profit for that boss, that's where. That is what has been happening in the mostly poor black, Latino, and white working class areas of Chicago and the country. Good teachers are being fired or driven out while students and parents are left in the broken system to flounder, wondering who is to blame. I could go on and on about this, but I came across a document that I think sums the issue up. Please take a moment to read it and post your thoughts.


  1. What's the point of teachers striking if they don't get most of what they ask for? Seems like a waste of time. There are hundreds of unemployed teachers who would love to have their "problem".

  2. i have the view that they were never going to get most of what they asked for, the deck is stacked against them. there's too much profit involved in our educational system and they are workers just like any of us, selling their labor for less than it's worth just to make a living. what they learned, and what the kids learned is that it's important to struggle and organize. They made the mayor of the city appeal to the courts to force them back to work, and they still could have refused. If they had a true united front, both employed and unemployed teachers together we would have all learned a lesson in organized fight back.

    The United Steel Workers stopped their contract negotiations just to see what would happen to the teachers. That's how important this fight was. This is all practice for when the economy really does collapse (again) so people know what to do, how to come together, how to fight, and what attacks to prepare for. Until them, whatever a strike can do to make people's lives better is good. Better insurance, more relief, another marginal raise, every little bit helps. But this has to be remembered and built upon or else it really didn't matter.