Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Special Update: Chicago Teachers' Strike

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike yesterday for the first time in 25 years.
We all understand that the decision to pursue a work stoppage is not an easy one. However, we also know that it is sometimes the only remaining option to ensure a just outcome for both educators and students. The CTU members’ courage, determination and unity are an inspiration to all of us.

No one wants to strike, and no one strikes without cause. A strike is a last resort, but it forces policymakers to focus on the issues at hand. CTU’s members know that collective action sometimes is the only way to improve their schools, their communities and their students' education.

This strike comes on the heels of numerous steps that left CTU members feeling disrespected, including:
  • Unilateral decisions to strip teachers and paraprofessionals of an agreed-upon increase
  • Imposition of additional terms and conditions of employment
  • Increase in class sizes
  • Addition of a teacher evaluation system based solely on student test scores 

The strike comes only after long and intense negotiations failed to lead to an agreement that would give CTU members the tools they need to help all their students succeed. Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.

CTU members — the women and men who spend every day with Chicago's children — want to have their voice and experience respected and valued. They want to be treated as equal partners in making sure every student in Chicago succeeds. That has been the CTU's guiding philosophy throughout these negotiations, and it remains so on the picket lines.

The students, teachers and educational support staff — and the city of Chicago — deserve a school system that works for everyone. In the end, that is what this strike is all about.

You can show their solidarity with your colleagues in Chicago in a number of ways:
  • Wear red on Wednesday, Sept. 12 to show your support for the CTU and strong public schools in Chicago.
  • Send messages with letters or resolutions of support (with the subject line, “Letters or Resolutions of support for CTU from (union name, location)” to  ctscpress@gmail.com.
  • Take a photo wearing red and send it (with the subject line, “Solidarity with CTU pictures from (location)” to ctscpress@gmail.com and to photos@aft.org (copy us too at ahem@anoka.k12.mn.us).
  • Post expressions of support on the CTU’s Facebook page here: http://tinyurl.com/9h6vyur
  • Make a contribution to the Chicago Teachers Union Solidarity Fund here: http://tinyurl.com/9m24g4x
  • Keep up with the news on the CTU by visiting their website at www.ctunet.com.

Let’s stand together with our colleagues in Chicago!