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Press conference: Monday, September 17, 2012 at 12:00pm, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, 5th Floor, Chicago, Illinois.
The Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign will hold a press conference to condemn Mayor Rahm Emanuel's decision to file an injunction against the Chicago Teachers Union and to voice community support for the teachers.
CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emanuel has his lawyers working overtime to prepare charges that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike is illegal. If a judge agrees, this could force teachers back to work without a contract, their voices silenced.
But the CTU has strong support from community members who understand that it is not Mayor Emanuel but the teachers who are truly fighting for what is best for students and for the future of public education.
On Monday morning, the Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign will hold a press conference to show support for the Chicago Teachers Union and condemn the mayor's continued campaign of demonization. Speakers will include: Jitu Brown, organizer with Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO); Steven Ashby, Professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois; a representative from National Nurses United (NNU); and other parent and community group representatives.
The mayor claims to be looking out for the best interests of Chicago's children, but his education policies indicate otherwise. He arrogantly pushed legislation to extend the school day and school year without offering additional compensation to teachers. Moreover, he pushed this legislation while slashing money from school budgets. Except, that is, for politically connected, privately owned charter schools. Charters were allocated an additional $75 million under the proposed CPS budget, while neighborhood schools were ordered to do more with less money.
Yet the Mayor has the gall to now file an injunction against the union that claims the strike "endangers the health and safety of our children." If the mayor were truly concerned about the health and safety of Chicago's children, he would not allow classrooms without air conditioning, schools without full-time nurses, social workers with caseloads of over 1,000 students, and classrooms with over 40 students.
Instead, Rahm Emanuel is trying to punish the CTU for even bringing up these issues. The mayor states that the strike is further illegal because it is "over issues that are deemed by state law to be non-strikable." Over course, this is not true, since compensation and other "legally strikable" issues are still part of the negotiations. But the CTU has been fighting to get these health and safety issues into the contract because they know that this is the only way to hold Chicago Public Schools and the mayor accountable.
The delegates and members of the CTU have a democratic right and a civic responsibility to review the terms of the tentative contract agreement thoroughly before signing it. These educators and paraprofessionals are the ones who truly care about students' education and well-being. They are the ones who will have to abide by the provisions in this contract and their ability to serve students will be determined by those provisions.
The Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign applauds the union for their exemplary execution of the democratic process and their continued diligence in fighting for the schools Chicago's students deserve.