[When we published this article this afternoon, the CTU still had not confirmed the press reports saying that the vote to authorize a strike taken by CTU members had resulted in an overwhelming YES vote.
[The CTU’s website has now confirmed these reports.
[Continuing to downplay the anger and determination of the CTU membership, and to attempt to defuse the very justified sentiment for a strike, current union President Karen G.J. Lewis stated boldly “The results are not a win. They are an indictment on the state of the relationship between the ‘management’ of CPS and its largest labor force, members of the Chicago Teachers Union… we want a contract that gives Chicago’s Students the Schools They Deserve [sic]. So we call on CPS to take the process seriously and negotiate with us in good faith…” As the article says below, the CTU President has done nothing that shows us that she is even at all interested in, never mind is capable of, leading a victorious teachers strike. Her repeated anti-strike statements even serve to COMPLETELY UNDERCUT her half-hearted plans to use the strike authorization vote as a bargaining chip in the negotiations with the School Board. – IWPCHI]
Thee CTU website still has not confirmed it, but capitalist press websites are out with stories claiming that the Chicago Teachers Union has voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, by a nearly 9-1 margin. According to the Sun-Times, the strike vote was:
Yes: 23,780 (89.73%)
No 482 (1.82%)
Non-voters, spoiled ballots 2,240 (8.45%) [Source: Chicago Sun-Times]
This vote undoubtedly will raise hopes in the hearts of many of the teachers who voted in favor of a strike that, this time, maybe, they will get out on the picket lines and get a chance to show that they mean it when they say that they want to fight for quality education for the children of Chicago. But don’t start setting up picket lines just yet, because your so-called “leader” Karen G.J. Lewis, never misses an opportunity to hammer home her position that “Strikes aren’t good for anyone and if the Board is wise it will work with us to do what’s in the best interest of our public schools.” [Source: ctunet.com, “President Karen GJ Lewis Casts Her Ballot”, June 6, 2012.]
What does her statement mean? Just this: she has no intention of leading a strike at all, under any circumstances. If she does so, it will be under duress, and only after she has exhausted every means for negotiating an settlement with the Chicago Board of Education – a settlement in which the teachers will lose and lose big.
Why doesn’t Karen GJ Lewis… (hey, who really cares what her middle initials are anyway? Pretentiousness is not an admirable trait in a union leader)… want to go on strike? Polls show that the all-important “public opinion” (to union bureaucrats who are almost all cheeseburger-eating surrender monkeys) supports the teachers. Parents and schoolkids support the teachers too. So why doesn’t Ms. Lewis want to lead a strike in which she can count on nearly universal support from the community? If the dire situation of the massive underfunding of the US Public School System isn’t enough reason to go on strike, what the hell is?
Well, she probably doesn’t want to mess up Barack Obama’s re-election circus just a little over month before the election takes place. The interests of “Karen GJ Lewis'” career and her political alliances with the Democrats are more important to her.
So, Chicago Teachers: if you want to go on strike, you’ll have to DUMP both “Karen GJ Lewis” and the Democratic Party at the same time. Going into a strike is no joke, and if the leadership of your union is more interested in furthering their own career than in fighting for your rights and the right of every child in this country to a free, first-class public school education, then you’ll have a huge roadblock instead of a leader at the helm of your strike.
Ask yourself… or even better yet, ask Karen G.J. Lewis if she’s ready to lead a strike in which the teachers take the most obvious tactics – the occupation of all the schools in Cook County in sit-down strikes that seize the schools and make it impossible for the city to bring in scabs. Because if she’s not ready to lead this struggle, then the CTU will have to remove her from office and elect a serious strike leadership. All Karen G.J. Lewis is interested in is using your strike vote as leverage in the bargaining sessions – oh and to make the charade more effective, they will be “round-the-clock” bargaining sessions!” – in which Pres. Lewis, having already expressed her unwillingness to lead a strike, will attempt to convince the other side that, somehow, the strike authorization vote really means something. But if it doesn’t stand for the union’s iron determination to actually STRIKE… then its effectiveness is equivalent to using a wet noodle to try to take lug nuts off a car’s wheels. And believe us, the union-busting hitmen hired by the Board of Education to smash the CTU will NOT BE FOOLED by phony posturing by Karen G.J. Lewis.
So get ready to demand answers from Karen G.J. Lewis as to whether she is truly capable of leading a serious strike that will go up against the cops, courts and the full weight of the “friends of labor” – the Democratic Party – and if she ain’t up for it, get ready to elect a new leadership capable of leading this strike. Because the Board of Education is not going to budge one millimeter – they don’t think the teachers have the guts to go out on strike – and that if they do, they’ll be easy targets with the crappy sellout union bureaucrats – Rahm’s friends – running the strike!
Just telling you the truth, is all.