Chicago. IL - Over 25,000 striking teachers and supporters converged on Union Park on Chicago’s Westside, September 15. Allies and supporters from throughout the Midwest traveled here to support them. Labor leaders and community supporters spoke powerfully from the stage fully backing the strike and the fight for public education. In polls taken during the week, the parents of public school students overwhelming supported the strikers. 87% of the students are African American or Latino.
Saturday was the sixth day of the strike that has idled over 600 schools in Chicago. On Friday, there was much talk in the mainstream press that there was a deal between the union and management. The union was clear - we are on strike until you hear from CTU. The union’s House of Delegates (HOD) is scheduled to vote on a deal September 16.
Coming from internal divisions that stifled this union, Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 has come a long way. Just last year the politicians in Springfield were patting one another on the back about how they had hamstrung the teachers in Chicago from striking. “This Union has proven the Chicago labor movement is neither dormant nor dead,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement about the tasks of the HOD meeting on Sunday.
Student leaders from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, who had fought against the attacks on unions by Governor Walker in the past two years, travelled to Chicago to march with the CTU. “This union should be congratulated for their bold challenge to Rahm Emanuel’s union busting agenda,” said Danielle Meyer of Occupy Milwaukee. “He and his right wing buddies want nothing less than the privatizing of public education.”