Laid off or fired teachers want jobs back with fair pay and benefits. They want contractual language assuring it. Emanuel's hardline. He insists principals decide who's hired and fired at schools they run. Key is replacing higher-paid teachers with lower-paid new ones. He also wants tenure ended.
In July, an "interim agreement" involved lengthening the school day with no added pay. Teacher concessions yielded little. A small number laid off benefitted marginally.
Those rehired got "interim" deals. They remain vulnerable to future layoffs after one semester. Emanuel even wants this scheme ended. He's all take and no give. He wants schools privatized, profits prioritized, union influence neutered, and teachers, parents and kids hung out to dry.
On September 12, Marshal High School was the venue for a mass rally. Thousands turned out. Chants included "Hey Rahm we're no fools we won't let you ruin our schools." "Ain't no stopping us now," and "R E S P E C T."
Two other rallies were held with large turnouts. "Drums beat, bells rang and fists soared as the crowd" also chanted "Hey hey ho ho, Rahm Emanuel's got to go" and "Rahm Rahm Rahm Rahm Rahm Rahm Rahm, hey hey, goodbye."
Questions were asked and comments made, including:
"Why are the public schools paying for private schools?"
"When our students go to Charter Schools and, they don't come up to par, the first thing they do is put them out and send them back to public schools but they don't send the money with them. They keep the money."- Advertisement -
"When they come back to public schools and they don't come up to par, we're going to teach them no matter what."
"And when they don't come up to par they put the teachers out. Does that make sense? NO!"
A march followed throughout the neighborhood. Parents and children waved and cheered from doorways and windows. Some joined them. Cars honked horns. Even some police showed support. Endless signs and banners were displayed. Slogans were chanted.
Strike day three showed solidarity. This struggle has miles to go. At stake are thousands of jobs, futures for kids, bedrock public education, and the soul of Chicago and perhaps America. It that's not worth fighting for, what is?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Email address removed .
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"