Thursday, March 31, 2016

‘Day of Action’ more like expanded effort to get teachers’ union on TV

It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to Friday – the day that the Chicago Teachers Union has a one-day strike, of sorts, planned.

Looking to build up friends
The union has its gripes with the Chicago Public Schools (what else is new), and the hope is that a one-day lack of teachers in the schools somehow scares the board of education into taking their concerns more seriously.

THE IDEA BEING that a one-day work stoppage could avert a lengthier strike at some point in the future.

Yet I must admit to being skeptical – in part because I realize the Chicago Public Schools are run by people who have their own stubborn streak and if there was an easy solution toward achieving a new contract for the public school teachers it would have been negotiated a long time ago.

But also, I can’t help but note the large amount of activity planned for Friday that seems not all that concerned with public education.

The ‘Day of Action’ is intended to be a whole day on Friday of activities meant to show the teachers’ union solidarity with other organized labor interests. As in the teachers union wants to be sure that if there is a future strike, they will have the backing of labor unions in other industries.

LOOKING AT THE tentative schedule the union put together (it could always change and Friday could turn out to be completely different), there will be teachers in places ranging from the Nabisco cookie manufacturing plant at 73rd Street and Kedzie Avenue to the Cook County Jail (as part of a stunt meant to encourage increased education funding to avoid children growing up into inmates).
From a visit to the Cook County Jail ...
There will be teachers partaking in events at Chicago State University (where financial conditions are so strapped officials recently demanded the return of keys by employees in case the school has to shut down) and at Northeastern Illinois University.

Where officials there have planned their own protest events to show support for the Chicago Public Schools teachers. Which is relevant because many of the students at the Northwest Side public college came out of the Chicago Public Schools.
... to a solidarity visit to a McDonalds, ...
Heck, there even will be an early morning rally of some teachers outside a McDonalds – got to show support for an increased minimum wage, and what is more symbolic of someone stuck working at the bottom of our society’s economic scale than someone earning some money by working the grill or the cash register while serving up Big Macs.
... teachers could wind up their Day of Action downtown

THERE’S A GOOD chance that if you’re out and about throughout the city on Friday, you’re going to run into a teacher or two (dozen or so). They want to build up support for the strike they’re likely going to take on in coming months.

The one that will cause classes to be cancelled for more than just a day like they will be on Friday.

Because the simple fact is this – parents may be able to express a symbolic support for the teachers union when the issues are all theoretical.

But the moment it turns into those parents having to arrange for special day-care to watch their kids while at work because classes are cancelled, it becomes a massive inconvenience.

AND YES, THERE will be some (many, actually) parents who will just as soon blame the teachers for not showing up for work.

This pre-strike, so to speak, is meant to build up enough good will with so many interests that they will have their friends all geared up for the good fight that could come.

Ultimately, it's all up to Rahm
And who knows? Perhaps the sight of an afternoon rally from the University of Illinois at Chicago campus to the Thompson Center state government building (where they’ll ride the subway to get from college to the government building) will be enough of an intimidating spectacle.

One that would actually persuade the Chicago Public Schools officials (and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, their spiritual leader) to make the kind of concessions that would actually urge the union not to walk off the job sometime later this year.


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