MORE Statement of Solidarity and Call to Action for the Chicago Teachers Union

October 7, 2016 — Leave a comment

On September 28th, 95.6% of Chicago teachers voted to go on strike. They have been negotiating since 2014 for a just contract on top of non-negotiable items for the public schools and students they serve.

There are some striking similarities to NYC public schools, in the kind of attacks they have faced: disastrous budget cuts that have had effects on the equitable allocation of resources and professionals for mandated services in special education, libraries and other programs, such as arts and physical education. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, under the advisory of Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist who is leading the way for the charterization of Chicago’s schools, has withheld and cut funding to the public schools.

The Chicago Teachers’ Union want something very simple- the assurance that public school educators and students have what they need in order to have thriving public schools in Chicago. If an agreement cannot be made, teachers could go out on strike as soon as October 11. In 2012, Chicago teachers led the national educational justice movement when they went on a successful strike that gathered the help of communities and parents to fight for the schools that Chicago students deserve.

Now they need support from everywhere across the country!

Here are some of the core issues for CTU:

– No more budget cuts
– Restore the jobs lost (1,000 teachers laid off without recall rights)
– Keep salary steps and lanes

To learn more details, go to the Chicago Teachers Union site

ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE:

  • In addition to the above, to show our solidarity, organize folks to wear CTU red, make a banner in support of Chicago’s Teachers and Students, and take a photo to post on their social media pages.
  • MORE is planning continued days of action every Friday, starting October 14th until the contract is settled! Make sure your school joins in.
  • Come to the UFT Executive Board on Monday, October 17th, to pressure our union leadership to pass the resolution below for direct support for the CTU.

Taking these actions of solidarity is also an important opportunity to draw parallels to the $3.9 billion dollars owed to New York public schools, exposed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. NYC is under similar influences that are set on weakening our union and underfunding our schools. This is all done through top down decision making under mayoral control, Fair Student Funding and allowing for charter co-locations. We too must fight with the same principled positions and actions as the Chicago Teachers Union.

Draft Solidarity Resolution with the Chicago Teachers Union in their Struggle for the Schools that Chicago Students Deserve

MORE is suggesting the following draft resolution for the October 17th meeting of the UFT Executive Board – we hope that entire UFT will join in supporting it

WHEREAS the Chicago Teachers Union has been negotiating since 2014 for a just contract, and

WHEREAS Chicago students, teachers and parents have faced strikingly similar attacks as we have experienced in New York, including disastrous budget cuts, sweeping closings of schools that have dislocated teachers and students, and growing charter colocations, and

WHEREAS the multimillionaire Mayor Rahm Emanuel has threatened to eliminate city pension contributions for CTU members, which would effectively cut their pay by 7 percent, and the near-billionaire venture capitalist Governor Bruce Rauner has pushed through budget cuts that hamstring Chicago’s education system, and

WHEREAS in 2012, Chicago teachers led the national educational justice movement when they went on a successful strike and mobilized communities and parents to aid their fight for the schools that Chicago students deserve, and

WHEREAS by articulating the simple demand that educators and students get what they need in order to have thriving public schools in Chicago, CTU has also provided an example of how to fight for equitable funding for all, such as the two billion dollars owed New York City school students under the CFE settlement, and

WHEREAS on September 28th, 95.6% of Chicago teachers voted to authorize a strike, in response to Emanuel’s and Rauner’s refusal to provide additional funding to the schools, and

WHEREAS, CTU has released a report, titled “A Just Chicago: Fighting for the City Our Students Deserve”, which, as the union puts it “demonstrates that challenges in housing, employment, justice and health care relate directly to education; solutions require a narrowing of the opportunity gap brought on by poverty, racism and segregation,” making CTU’s fight for a contract a touchstone for a wider struggle against austerity and for economic and racial justice, therefore be it

RESOLVED that the UFT will encourage its members to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Chicago by all available means, including social media and by making donations to the CTU strike fund, and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT initiate a “Red Friday” action in our chapters where members wear CTU red in solidarity with Chicago teachers every Friday until the strike is over, and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT hold solidarity meetings in New York to organize supporters of the strike and mobilize further actions, and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT call upon and mobilize its retirees, who have always demonstrated great passion and energy in political campaigns in the past and present, to support CTU picket lines, and provide transportation costs for those retirees who answer the call, and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT will work with AFT leaders to ensure interest free loans to CTU members to alleviate financial hardship during the strike, and be it further

RESOLVED that, if needed, the UFT will provide significant financial assistance to ensure the successful operations of our sister union.

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