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Rahm Emanuel: Chicago's War Criminal/Anti-Labor Mayor

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Rahm Emanuel: Chicago's War Criminal/Anti-Labor Mayor - by Stephen Lendman

Except for Harold Washington's 1983 - 1987 tenure until his untimely death, Chicago never had populist mayors, notably under father Richard J. (April 20, 1955 - December 20, 1976) and son Richard M. Daley (April 24, 1989 - May 16, 2011). 

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However, after two months in office, Emanuel looks likely to be Chicago's worst, based on policy initiatives he supports.

As White House chief of staff, he was criminally part of Obama's war cabinet. As Chicago's mayor, he's waging it against labor.

Candidate Emanuel, in fact, promised draconian anti-worker cuts "in attacking our budget deficit, (so) there must be no sacred cows....Chicago will have to make tough choices, (forcing) more than $500 million in efficiencies" on the backs of working Chicagoans already struggling to get by when they need help, not greater sacrifices they can't afford.

No matter, slash and burn now is policy, including layoffs, wage freezes, and benefit cuts, notably targeting healthcare and pensions. Then in June, Emanuel rescinded a contractual 4% raise owed 30,000 teachers, indicating the same policy would follow for other Chicago Public Schools (CPS) employees as part of his war on public education and Chicago workers.

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In late June, it continued with 1,000 teachers fired, besides 4,000 since 2009, school closures, larger class sizes, and other draconian measures. Reassigned teachers retain salaries and benefits for one year as "interim" substitute staff. If not kept after 10 months, they're "honorabl(y) terminated." 

In other words, fired, no matter their qualifications, tenure, or student needs. In fact, many other teachers were sacked without temporary pay or benefits, according to union officials, who have little to boast about after endorsing Illinois Senate Bill 7 (SB 7).

Its provisions include using standardized tests to fire teachers, regardless of seniority, tenure, qualifications,  or how students respond to effective classroom practices, what rote memory tests can't measure. It also lets school districts increase hours per day, and add extra school weeks, with no additional compensation. In addition, teacher strikes are prohibited until after four months of negotiations plus a special arbitration panel's ruling. 

Even then, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) must give 10 days notice backed by 75% of its members to approve a walkout. In other words, SB 7 empowers state and city authorities over their right to demand equity or walk out.

At the same time, CPS executives got salary increases up to 30% over their predecessors. Emanuel's new CPS head, Jean-Claude Brizard, earns $250,000 plus a 15% incentive package. Earlier as Rochester, New York  public schools superintendent, 95% of teachers deplored his policies in office.

Moreover, he's named in two federal lawsuits regarding improper handling of budget cuts and school closures. Earlier, he attended the notorious Superintendents' Academy of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, founded by corporate predator Eli Broad to train administrators on restructuring and privatizing public education at the expense of educating kids.

Nonetheless, Emanuel wants him to replicate what he did in Rochester. Elizabeth Swanson is his deputy chief of staff, formerly (billionaire Penny) Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation executive director. 

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It advocates merit pay, school privatizations, and other regressive policies supported by Arne Duncan, former CPS head. He's now Obama's Education Secretary, appointed to wreck public education nationwide through  his Race to the Top scheme, linking federal funding to compliance with retrograde federal standards. They mandate:

-- open-ended conversion of public schools to charter or for-profit ones;

-- running them by marketplace rules;

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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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