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Capitulation in Chicago?

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Capitulation in Chicago?


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Chicago teachers brace for union sellout on core issues.

by Stephen Lendman

By the time this article circulates, it may be all over but the shouting, finger-pointing, and bitterness among rank-and-file loyalists over another union sellout.

As this is written, it looks that way. It won't surprise. Across America, union bosses keep prioritizing their own positions and welfare over workers they represent. 

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Instead of fighting for rights they deserve, they capitulate to corporate and government scoundrels. Wisconsin public workers learned the hard way. The state was ground zero to save public worker rights.

During February and March 2011, they waged an epic struggle. It captured international attention. It ended with a whimper, not a bang. When the dust settled, they lost jobs, wages, benefits, and bargaining rights.

The Madison-based South Central Federation of Labor passed a hollow general strike resolution. Nothing was done to initiate an urgent action many workers demanded.

AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and NEA-affilated Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) leaders abandoned their struggle and sold out Republican Governor Scott Walker's wish list.

It didn't surprise. It been happening across America regularly. Workers have been ill represented for decades. The 1981 PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) strike was seminal. It was a shot across organized labor's bow.

Over 11,000 workers lost jobs. AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland conspired with Ronald Reagan in union-busting. During the 1980s alone, coal miner, steel worker, bus driver, airline worker, copper miner, auto worker, and meatpacker strikes were defeated. Union bosses sold out worker interests. 

No wonder unionism today is a shadow of its former self. It's headed for extinction without committed rank-and-file activism to save it.

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On September 10, Chicago teachers walked out. At stake are rank-and-file rights, jobs, benefits, keeping education public, the futures of Chicago kids, the city's soul, and perhaps America's.

A previous article called Chicago America's epicenter of resistance . It's headed for becoming its epicentral defeat. Don't blame teachers, parents or students. They're resolute and deserve better. They're also ill served.

On September 13, the Chicago Tribune headlined "Optimism over ending Chicago teachers strike, but no classes Friday," saying:

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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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