Community support for the striking workers has continued to rise, with seemingly every day bringing another sterling example of solidarity and
mutual aid. SEIU Local 73 reached a tentative agreement with the city last night. While details haven’t been released, it appears to be a win, particularly for those members of Local 73 who consistently received the lowest compensation and highest job instability. SEIU 73 voted unanimously to continue supporting the striking teachers and to walk the picket lines rather than cross them for as long as it takes the city to meet CTU’s demands.
Monday saw CPS students march to and then occupy City Hall. It’s encouraging and uplifting to witness such solidarity from students so deep into the strike. The support from students and the public shows that the mayor and CPS’ tactic of spreading misinformation is not working. We must continue to do everything we can to provide material and emotional support to the strikers and to prevent the city from shifting blame for the strike onto the union.
Tomorrow, the community will join again for an 8 AM march- look for details below.
Contract Bargaining Update
- SEIU reached a tentative deal that will be submitted to membership for ratification this week. The deal’s terms haven’t yet been released, but reportedly include a 16% pay raise over five years, additional stipends, personal days, and path to full-time employment for bus aides, an expedited salary schedule for special education classroom assistants, and limits on security officers’ responsibilities.
- CTU’s negotiations with the city are ongoing as of this writing, with the CPS general counsel at the bargaining table for the first time. CTU reports that $38 million in additional concessions from CPS are what is required for a tentative agreement. Meanwhile, CTU researchers have found that $93 million of the current CPS budget is earmarked for expenses that have previously come out of the city’s budget; $60 million for pension obligations and $33 million for police in schools. A deal seems within reach, but if a tentative agreement is made, union members will still need to read it and the house of delegates will have to vote on it.
The two main things you can do to offer physical support, if you can, are to join the CTU action tomorrow morning and to volunteer with Bread for Ed.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, at 8 am, CTU members and community supporters will meet at one of three locations: Wicker Park (Damen Blue Line Stop), North/Clybourn Red Line Plaza (North/Clybourn Red Line), or Oscar Mayer Park (2250 N. Clifton, Fullerton or Armitage Red/Line/Purple). DSA members head to Wicker Park or North/Clybourn—we’ll be there!
BREAD FOR ED
Bread for Ed will be making and distributing food at various areas around the city, so if you have time and resources to help with preparation and/or distribution, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider donating if you can, and if you have time and resources to help with preparation and/or distribution, please email email@example.com. The material needs of students and striking workers will only escalate the longer it continues.
Locations that will be distributing food tomorrow include:
- Teamster City: 1645 W Jackson St., 2pm – 6:30pm
- Change You Can Believe In: 1010 W 69th St., 2pm – 6:30pm
The 2019 CTU strike is now the longest since 1987, one of the five strikes that decade, and eighth since 1968. Negotiating with Mayor Harold Washington, the teachers targeted pay and class size as their main issues. Mayor Washington came under criticism by teachers and parents for his lack of involvement in negotiations, especially early in the strike. As Jacobin’s Matthew Cunningham-Cook writes, the teachers considered themselves part of the larger black liberation and black labor movement, leading the union in the contract fights against the city.
Cunningham-Cook outlines how the gains won in the 1987 and previous contracts as well as the progressive black voices in the city’s teachers’ movement were explicitly targeted by dismissive and vengeful white leaders in an effort to undermine educators under the guise of “school reform.” As the grip of neoliberalism took hold CTU, under the leadership of the United Progressive Caucus, failed to fight back. That is how, by the time the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) won leadership of the union in 2010, teachers have found themselves fighting to regain many basic necessities they’ve had taken away. It is admirable that CTU has now taken the fight one step further, bargaining for the common good over issues such as affordable housing and sanctuary for immigrants. CORE has transformed CTU into radical union which is fighting back against decades of privatization and austerity. It is incumbent on us to continue to show solidarity. Together, we will win.
The Red Star Bulletin was conceived by Ramsin Canon and is a project of the Political Education & Policy Committee. This update was drafted by CDSA members. Special contributions were made by Nick Hussong and Devin Schiff. Graphics were contributed by Patrick O’Connell. If you would like to contribute to the Red Star Bulletin or have any feedback, email firstname.lastname@example.org.