Chicago, IL - On Sept. 16 the members of the House of Delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) received the contract offer from management of the Chicago Public Schools. The Bargaining Team, made up of the four officers and the CTU lawyers, presented a 23-page summary of the 180-page tentative agreement.
The mood of the House of Delegates was distrustful of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school board. No surprise, given that Emanuel declared war on the teachers from the moment he announced his run for mayor in 2010. Therefore, they voted to give themselves an extra day to present the summary to members back at their respective schools.
In retaliation, Emanuel threatened the CTU with an injunction. The city’s lawyers are bringing charges that the strike is illegal. If a judge grants the injunction, the teachers would be forced back to work without a contract.
The injunction was filed today, Sept. 17, and it claims that the union was striking over matters such as layoffs and class sizes that the union cannot legally strike over. CTU stated, “The Chicago Teachers Union is striking over mandatory subjects of bargaining such as compensation, evaluation procedures and the conditions within our classrooms.” The Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign, an organization of supporters of the CTU, issued a statement in response as well: “…compensation and other ‘legally strikable’ issues are still part of the negotiations. But the CTU has been fighting to get these health and safety issues into the contract because they know that this is the only way to hold Chicago Public Schools and the mayor accountable.”
The mayor lectures teachers and parents that his attack on the CTU is in the interests of the children. In fact, teachers and parents are united to fight to defend public education against attacks that are coming from exactly the wealthy class that includes Emanuel. The mayor backs Tax Increment Financing zones (TIFs) - which funnel hundreds of millions in tax dollars to real estate developers at the expense of the schools - and he increased funding up to $75 million this year to private charter schools.