Big Rumbling in Chicago as Teachers Move Toward Historic Strike
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“I don’t think [Emanuel] has the city’s and citizens’ best interest in mind,” said Tom Brady, an elementary school English teacher on the city’s far South side, who has worked for 24 years in the public school system. “Ultimately [former Mayor Richard M.] Daley did not want labor unrest. Emanuel is more willing to have labor unrest… It’s not just teachers, it’s also the librarians, and then the police and firefighters’ contracts are up next.”
Chambers said other unions in the public schools and citywide are watching the teachers' struggle as a bellwether of things to come.
“If they take us down, they take everyone down,” she said. “There are 19 unions in the schools. Our contracts affect the working conditions and contracts for everyone else.”
Other public-sector unions and community groups have rallied behind the teachers, and surveys have shown that parents strongly support the teachers’ position.
Barrett said, “People call Rahm the best union organizer we ever had.”