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When “bargaining for the common good” is not nearly enough

Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

* In These Times

A standoff at the bargaining table over the Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) package of housing demands dominated the city’s news cycle last week. The union is asking Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to provide housing assistance for new teachers, hire staff members to help students and families in danger of losing housing, and take other steps to advocate for more affordable housing overall in the city. […]

Housing advocates agree. “The mayor’s view reflects a very narrow understanding of the professional responsibilities of public school educators,” says Marnie Brady, assistant professor at Marymount Manhattan College and research committee co-chair of the national Homes For All campaign. “The living conditions of their students are indeed the working conditions of their classrooms.”

By raising an issue that affects not only teachers, but the communities they live and work in, CTU is deploying a strategy known as “bargaining for the common good.” That approach was key to the union’s victory in its landmark 2012 walkout, but a potential strike of 35,000 school and parks workers this week is shaping up to be an even more dramatic test.

On some levels, I can understand that position.

* But I cannot understand this on any level

The Chicago Teachers Union failed to participate in a major study aimed at protecting students from sexual violence, according to the study and its authors.

Consultant Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor hired last year to help Chicago Public Schools revamp its Office of Student Protections and Title IX, wrote in a Sept. 26 report that she tried repeatedly to seek the input of CTU President Jesse Sharkey but received no cooperation.

“The Chicago Teachers Union President is the only person we contacted who failed to respond to our inquiries. We made multiple attempts to contact him by phone, by email, and through his assistant and office, during both our preliminary and follow-up evaluations,” Hickey wrote in a footnote to her 134-page report.

CTU spokeswoman Chris Geovanis said the union searched its archives Friday afternoon and found two of the emails from Hickey and her team — but said they had been diverted to a junk email folder and were never read.

* Um, this isn’t the first time that the CTU claimed emails from Hickey wound up in spam. This is from an interview last year after Hickey released a preliminary report

In Maggie Hickey’s preliminary report (which examines the district’s handling of sexual misconduct cases), she goes so far as to write in the footnotes that you didn’t call her back. Do you agree with the observation that the union has been absent in the discussions about what to do?

I’m super annoyed about that. She emailed me, the email went to my spam folder, I happened not to see it. I’m not that hard to get in touch with – you can call my assistant, our front desk, our press office. There are a lot of ways to get in touch with me.

The CTU knew Hickey was looking into this. CTU leadership knew Hickey was having trouble reaching them via email and by phone more than a year ago. Why weren’t top officials reaching out to her to help with the investigation? Some students were raped, for crying out loud, and yet the CTU just sat back for over a year and throughout the entire process of writing two reports?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    Kids try using the excuse-

    It’s not my fault.

    I am super annoyed the Dog ate my homework again!

  2. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    I’m glad someone finally connected these two issues. If CTU is going to hold themselves out as the arbiter of all things good (while simultaneously rejecting a contract that raises their pay 16%) they better well not have any glass houses.

  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:20 pm:

    If we get that new contract, we can finally upgrade that Windows 98 email server.

  4. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    Even if the emails were sent to the spam folder, CTU doesn’t dispute her claim that she left phone messages for Sharkey.

  5. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    Wasn’t there a Cook County office whose website went offline two years in a row when the registration expired? The first time the invoice was found in a Spam Filter and the office asked the vendor, going forward, for a physical invoice sent via USPS. The next year the invoice was emailed again, and ended up in the Spam Filter, again.

  6. - SAP - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    It really isn’t difficult to check your spam file every couple days to make sure that it didn’t filter out a legit e-mail.

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    Intended or not, this gives the impression that when it comes to preventing abuse of students, the common good has to take a back seat to the interests of some of their uncommonly bad members.

  8. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    The goal has always been about taking to the streets and protesting about every issue under the sun. That’s why they’re rallying with other unions and bargaining wide-ranging issues about housing. There’s no way they’re walking away from this without a strike…

  9. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    I’ve got a feeling that once the strike starts and parents learn that the main sticking point is “housing demands”, that 55% approval for the strike quoted earlier today will drop real fast. Especially if the city starts highlighting CTU’s malfeasance on protecting students from abuse

  10. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    “It really isn’t difficult to check your spam file” Some organizations quietly block the spam at the server and you may not know about it.

  11. - JB13 - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    It’s all about the children. Always.

  12. - AAA - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    The policy of not cooperating with an investigation of abuse of students is consistent with not cooperating on any other reform that ightimprove outcomes and instill accountability to a horribly corrupt enterprise.

  13. - SpfdNewb - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    My message at 3:26 is in response to skeptic

  14. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    On paper this may look good to CTU..

    Student learning also depends on what happens outside the class­room. CTU fights for social justice in the areas of affordable housing, sanctuary schools, Sustainable Community Schools, and restor­ative justice

    No so much when working parents have to scramble to find childcare.

  15. - Iris - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    Our kids go to a CPS school that we love. For the past 10 days or so, we’ve been bombarded with texts and emails from the teachers encouraging parents to send the kids to school today in red to show solidarity with the teachers. We chose to send the kids in uniform. It was very interesting to see the vast majority of kids in uniform and very very few kids in red….

  16. - Real Progressive - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    =The union is asking Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to…take other steps to advocate for more affordable housing overall in the city.=

    CTU is being irresponsible by settling for more affordable housing when they should demand that CPS eradicate poverty and address climate change.

  17. - A guy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    ==I’m not that hard to get in touch with ==

    He is if he’s trying to be hard to get in touch with. It’s who he is. Ugh.

  18. - Kids in uniform - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:00 pm:


    How can you send your kids to school to teachers who spend almost 40 hours a week with them and not support them. Doe not make sense….

  19. - Iris - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    We support the teachers in many different ways. But supporting the teachers and the CTU in what appears to be a bargaining standoff over many things outside of mandatory subjects of collective bargaining is a different story….

  20. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    Maybe because it is not the kids’ fight and they shouldn’t be asked in the first place?

  21. - Rudiforte - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:14 pm:

    In theory, people support the teachers. Will they support them if the CPS real estate tax has to double? Do people support a union that protects its members as described here?

    Lightfoot should talk about this more.

  22. - Kids in uniform - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    Benefits…. class size…..?

    I work at a school with 39 kindergartener students in ONE room.

    Buying your own soap, and toilet paper????

    Getting paid less this year than last year, because when they “give” you a raise, and take more from you by hiking your benefits….

    Bu supporting the teachers during this difficult time , you are supporting your children.

  23. - Burgundy blues - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    The teachers are fighting for the students.

    Do you think that low of teachers…..?


  24. - Rudiforte - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:36 pm:

    ^ by protecting child abusers?

  25. - Kids wear uniforms - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:37 pm:

    So now teachers are child abusers, your ignorance is nauseating.

  26. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    Giving the teachers whatever they want when the district can’t afford it does not equal hating teachers. It’s a false equivalency. And the parents are also the taxpayers who are represented by the Mayor they overwhelmingly elected to not give away the store, because ultimately they have to pay for the results.

  27. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:46 pm:

    Meant not giving whatever they want doesn’t equal hating teachers obviously. And pick one nickname and stick with it please.

  28. - Burgundy blues - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 4:58 pm:

    It’s not about giving the teachers what they want….. it is being fair and giving the students and the teachers what they deserve.

    You have no idea the conditions some students and teachers have to work in.

  29. - Rudiforte - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 5:19 pm:

    If the choice is large real estate tax increases or no librarians, I vote no librarians. My guess is most of Chicago’s citizens agree. It would be nice if that was polled, because that what this boils down to.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 5:22 pm:

    === My guess is most of Chicago’s citizens agree.===

    You guess wrong, as polling says voters support teachers.

    Being the angry person at the end of the bar with “opinions” is a Facebook thing.

  31. - Rudiforte - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 5:28 pm:

    Willy , you still upset you can’t comprehend TIF? You clearly don’t understand npolling. Keep up.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 5:30 pm:

    === you still upset you can’t comprehend TIF===

    LOL, you still haven’t explained it. I cited Amanda Kass, you didn’t like it.

    It had facts.

  33. - Kids wear uniforms - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 6:01 pm:

    Oswego Willy…


  34. - Captain Obvious - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 6:25 pm:

    The CTU is not fighting for the kids. They are a political organization trying to exercise their power to get more for their members. If they gave a (banned word) for kids, don’t you think they would have participated in a study on sexual abuse of them? But there is nothing to be gained for them down that road so they refused to touch it.

  35. - Kids wear uniforms - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 6:44 pm:

    As a member of the CTU I couldn’t disagree with you more.

  36. - Just Me - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 8:18 pm:

    Social justice advocacy, eh?

  37. - Rudiforte - Wednesday, Oct 16, 19 @ 8:39 am:

    Looks like the CTU is striking. Not good for Chicago and its families.

  38. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 16, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    === Not good for Chicago and its families.===

    Not good for the Mayor.

    She may have two strikes and no city budget all happening at once.

    Campaigns are hard, governing is difficult.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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