Saturday, September 15, 2012

Emanuel the emaciated? He can be beat

The word is getting out. The Chicago Public Schools teachers’ strike is over. Classes will resume Monday. In the end, it was one week of inconvenience.
EMANUEL: Does he look a little shorter these days?

Of course, I’m going to be skeptical until I learn of an actual vote by the Chicago Teachers Union’s house of delegates, which was supposed to gather on Friday – but now is scheduled to meet Sunday.

IF A MAJORITY vote is received there for the tentative deal that was negotiated this week, then classes will resume. Until there, there is always the chance that something could go wrong.

And it doesn’t even have to be something significant. Somebody could say something rude about teachers’ union President Karen Lewis. You can just imagine all the nasty things that get said about her behind closed doors.

What if she happens to overhear something and get offended enough to stretch out the strike a little while longer? Nothing would surprise me at this point, although I’d like to believe this labor dispute is over and that we can now begin the process of reconciliation – which will take time to occur.

Although I have to admit I was not surprised to learn that the House of Delegates’ session was rescheduled. If anything, I was surprised to learn it was originally scheduled for Friday at all – what with the fact that the teachers’ union is planning to hold what they’re calling a “spirited solidarity rally” Saturday at Union Park at Lake Street and Ashland Avenue.

WHAT IS THE point of such a rally if the strike is already resolved by that point? Let the schools officials squirm a little bit more.

I’m sure that holding the vote Sunday means that those teachers can show their immense physical presence for the weekend newscast’s television cameras on Saturday and claim it as a threat of sorts.

“Try a last-minute change in the deal, and all bets will be off and the strike will resume into a second week” will be the idea they’ll try to push.

And I’m sure there will be some teachers who will want to view the Saturday event as some sort of last effort to rub Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s face in the mud, of sorts, that the bullying tactics he used in recent months to try to intimidate teachers into accepting what the Chicago Public Schools wanted – rather than what might actually be good for the people in the schools – did not scare them off.

IF ANYTHING, LEWIS showed that she could stand up to the mighty Emanuel whose hard-hitting political reputation surely has to take a few hits now that schools officials have had to compromise.

I’m not saying it’s quite like Oz telling us to “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” as we learn that Rahm is just a mere political mortal like the rest of us instead of the political bully he has been portraying himself as.

Note that I’m not getting obsessed in this commentary with the specifics of the deal that the Chicago Teachers Union actually managed to work out with the Chicago Public Schools.

Because the size of the pay raise was really never what this particular labor dispute was about.

IT REALLY WAS about Emanuel wanting to assert himself in ways that would show off his strength and make future opponents on so many issues think twice before daring to stand up to him.

If he had been able to get the teachers union to accept a new contract on the Chicago Public Schools’ terms, it would have literally made it possible for Rahm to think that he has the influence of a Daley in terms of getting people to accept things they personally find distasteful.

Instead, we learn that Emanuel can be fought off – provided one is willing to play just as much hard-ball as Rahmbo himself.

While he has time to redeem his legacy, I’d have to say that Emanuel these days is about as influential as Eugene Sawyer was back in his day as mayor – which isn’t saying much.


No comments: