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September Surprise in Chicago

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Workers have only their labor to withhold. Strikes are legally and morally justified. Rights aren't handed them. Hard fought struggles win them. There's no other way. 

Chicago teachers are on the front lines for theirs. Emanuel and corrupt union bosses want them denied. Hopefully they'll hold firm. It's too soon to know. Battle cries should chant all the way or no way. Quitting isn't an option. Nor is comprising what's essential.

All core issues demand equitable resolution. Key is keeping education public. So is preventing dozens of school closures and other vital terms too important to sacrifice.

CTU president Karen Lewis said HoD members aren't happy with the agreement. "They'd like it to be a lot better for us than is it. This is the deal we got."

Information Lewis released the previous day suggested a better agreement than negotiated. Belatedly, she acknowledged what should have been explained straightaway, saying:

"This is not a good deal by any stretch of the imagination, not (compared) to what our members are (used) to having."

Last Friday, she said she's "very comfortable" with agreed on terms. Now she admits they're woefully short. Saying the contract won't "solve everything" doesn't wash. It solves little relating to what matters most.

Delegates were upset about being force-fed terms with too little time to review them. They balked so everything is on hold.

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Substance News Editor George Schmidt said BoD members voted 350 - 220 to keep striking. At this point, it's only for one or two more days. Delegates want more time to review "available details" released.

Under CTU rules, they set and suspend strike actions. Full union membership has final say. No deal is sealed until they approve it. Voting can take up to two weeks. As a result, when classes resume, walking out again won't be easy or even possible.

Once BoD members vote approval, "the contract".and all provisions (in it) are in place for the duration."

Sunday evening, CTU officials posted information on their web site. It was largely an attempt to rally rank-and-file support. Hopefully they're smart enough to know better.

Negotiations won't resume. Final terms are set. Union bosses caved. A Chicago Versailles was accepted. Hopefully teachers will say no deal. For now, things are on hold until Tuesday.

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Emanuel hopes to bully teachers into acceding. Lewis won't admit she yielded. Perhaps she hopes pressure and threats for another day or two will soften BoD members' resolve. Hopefully she's dead wrong.

Emanuel and officials around him want education the way it should be gutted. He wants what's most vital to preserve ended. He wants Chicago schools run like cutthroat businesses.

Sack veteran teachers. Replace them with inexperienced low-paid ones. Close dozens of schools, then dozens more. Deprive many neighborhoods of what's too vital to lose. Privatize what should stay public. Downsize public education en route to destroying it altogether.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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