On Friday April 1, Chicago Teachers (CTU) Are Going to Strike. According to various accounts, they will be joined by the Chicago Transit Workers, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), Fight for Fifteen fast-food workers, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Project NIA, college faculty, and as many other allies as possible. This is the schedule for their day of action.
As to the “124” Lewis had mentioned, one account I read was that the some of them did indeed want to wait until the ‘fact-finding’ was finished, a contract considered, then stage a walk out if the contract were deemed sucky or negotiations fail, but clearly not all.
What I like best about the day of action might be called ‘social unionism’, although there seem to be many different meanings and origins ascribed to it online. One short version is: Social Unionism attempts to integrate workers, trade unions and the labor movement into broader coalitions for social and economic justice. In principle, unions and other organizations support each other in what are seen as mutually beneficial goals.
Given that, and the natural affinity groups who will try to ShutDownChicago for the day, this conference in July 2014 may have been key: ‘Social Movement Unionism Comes to the Teachers Unions at Last’, laprogressive.com.
“The conference was titled “Social Movement Unionism vs. Corporate Reform: Winning Strategies to Turn the Tide.” It featured six union officials from LA, New York, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago and St. Paul sharing their efforts to bring the wider community into their organizing and the various successes they’ve had.””
Opening up the discussion was Alex Caputo-Pearl, the newly installed President of UTLA, the United Teachers of Los Angeles. He defined social movement unionism as democratic, engaged with members, parents and community, explicit about fighting racial and social injustice, fighting privatization, taking people on, including Democrats and being willing to strike.”
Karen Lewis was there, speaking on the fact that she hadn’t had much success with other labor unions being in solidarity, so she began having conversations at schools, but mostly…listening. Many other representatives of city teacher unions were there, but all seemed in agreement about public education’s enemies being: corporate and right-wing ‘reform’ front groups, school privatizers, Bloomberg, Arne Duncan (ptui), and related ‘99% disenfranchised issues’. Their process goals were healthy ones, and one would hope they’re keeping to them.
Kristina Betinis at wsws.org is a current Lewis/Sharkey detractor, shall we say, giving cover to the Dems and Rahm, while focusing her fire on the Republican governor. She further claims that Lewis tried to sell a deal to the teachers in January.
“Lewis made clear that the CTU was prepared to agree to a deal that she said “calls for economic concessions in exchange for enforceable protections of education quality and job security.” In reality, the proposal included a de facto pay cut of 7 percent through increased pension contributions.
After details of this agreement were leaked, the CTU bargaining committee recognized that it would be impossible to push the deal through given the level of dissatisfaction among teachers, and voted to reject the offer. But CTU Vice President Sharkey emphasized his commitment to finding some way to push through Emanuel’s demands, particularly as they relate to pension cuts. “Everything is on the table,” he said.”
Now she also said that April 1-3 were the dates set for a national Labor Notes conference, and I suppose this is possibly so, given that so many unions are still captive to Democrat electoral politics. Ah, according to the LN link, there will a ‘labor for Bernie’ contingent there.
For further narrative on the underlying reasons for the CTU strike, you might want to read ‘The Next Great Chicago Strike’; The Chicago Teachers Union is going on strike tomorrow — and the stakes couldn’t be higher’ at JacobinMag.com (h/t marym in chicago).
‘Caring too much. That’s the curse of the working classes’ by David Graeber ‘Why has the basic logic of austerity been accepted by everyone? Because solidarity has come to be viewed as a scourge’
While agreeing with some of Graeber’s contentions, I’m not sure that they support his over-arching thesis, ending:
“There is a reason why the ultimate bourgeois virtue is thrift, and the ultimate working-class virtue is solidarity. Yet this is precisely the rope from which that class is currently suspended. There was a time when caring for one’s community could mean fighting for the working class itself. Back in those days we used to talk about “social progress”. Today we are seeing the effects of a relentless war against the very idea of working-class politics or working-class community. That has left most working people with little way to express that care except to direct it towards some manufactured abstraction: “our grandchildren”; “the nation”; whether through jingoist patriotism or appeals to collective sacrifice.
As a result everything is thrown into reverse. Generations of political manipulation have finally turned that sense of solidarity into a scourge. Our caring has been weaponised against us. And so it is likely to remain until the left, which claims to speak for labourers, begins to think seriously and strategically about what most labour actually consists of, and what those who engage in it actually think is virtuous about it.”
He would be right in noting as one ‘anti-capitalist unions’ essayist did, that given that in 1939, the services-to-manufacturing employment ratio in the United States was 2.1-to-1, but by 2015 it was 9.9-to-1. That decentralization of workers has meant less personal workplace camaraderie, but has also led to the decrease of ‘valorization’ of industrial workers and other corporate captital’s liberalization, thus death knells of unions.
Related in spades: ‘Detroit Public Schools are close to a $715 million bailout package’ (but did not take up separate short-term emergency funding for the district, which faces a possible shutdown in April), businessinsider.com
And ‘Arizona Voucher Bill for Half the Children in the State Advances in Legislature’, by dianeravitch , March 27, 2016, including:
“Richard Gilman has just written an excellent article on AZ vouchers: Should I add that a sitting and voting state senator, Steve Yarbrough, takes 10% of the so-called scholarship funds as an administrative fee?”
But on the holy hell front comes Kali Holloway’s ‘Campbell Brown: The New Leader of the Propaganda Arm of School Privatization’, and it’s a pip. Yves writes: “This story contains an impressive amount of gumshoe work on the funding of a major school privatization campaigner and therefore the hidden hands behind her effort. It’s also a good, if sobering example of how influence-pedddling works in modern America.” Holloway begins:
“Perhaps guided by the old adage that you have to spend money to make money, the champions of education “reform” have poured billions into the effort to privatize and profit from America’s schools. Those funds are used on multiple fronts: launching charter schools, underwriting the political campaigns of politicians, and of course, investing in media to propagate the free-market privatization vision. Among the most visible properties in this effort is the Seventy Four, the well-funded, power broker-backed education news website run by former journalist-turned-school privatization activist Campbell Brown. Launched last year, the site’s reported $4 million annual budget comes from a collective of school privatization’s big hitters: The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Jonathan Sackler (of OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma) and the Walton Family Foundation.
Philanthropy of this sort has an endgame—the privatization of America’s public schools—and media manipulation is an essential part of a winning strategy. Brown, leveraging her longstanding image as a truth-seeking newsperson in service of her new brand as an earnest education reformer, has been indispensable to this effort. As the head of the Seventy Four, under the guise of providing hard-hitting education news, she leads one of the key media efforts to push the anti-union, pro-privatization message of the charterization movement, all while keeping its billionaire backers out of the picture and off the front page.”
But the ‘investments’ are of course massive, with all of the familiar names (assholes on parade) and faux-lanthropic foundations, but she names a few to-me-unfamiliar ones, and the incestuous relationships among the oh-so-quaintly deceptive names amounting to ‘Kill Crap Schools! Privatize Them in the Name of Excellence!” And not: “Multiple billions worth of profits are up for grabs as we F over public education and commodity students!”
And of course she notes that it’s not just Brown, but a far larger scheme that’s actually working quite well….so far. Her section on ‘The Real Cost to Taxpayers, Parents, Students and Traditional Public Schools’ seriously burns; well, all of it does…
We’ll check back with some of the Tweeties tomorrow, see what pops as far as #ShuttingDownChi, yes? Hope they do.