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You know you are tough when you win anti-bullying concessions from Rahm Emanuel

September 19, 2012

Chicago teachers and students are back in class today after their union voted to suspend the strike. The new contract includes significant concessions to teachers. The full membership will vote on the contract later, which is endorsed by leadership and is expected to be accepted.

Chicago teachers won in large part because of the support of parents. Chicago teachers went out of their way to welcome and cultivate alliances with parents (take note, DSEA). Also because the union clearly articulated and fought for their agenda, which was aligned with parents’ hopes and obviously so much more pro-student than the administration proposals.

Even though the union did not win their demands for lower class size, parents understood teachers were fighting for their children on what matters.

Another recently formed group, Parents4Children, picketed alongside teachers throughout the week. With 1,000 supporters, the group organized this year to stand up against “teacher bashing,” according to parent Erica Clark.

“We support the teachers union because they are fighting for the same things we are, the things that matter in the classroom, like smaller classes, better curriculums with art and music,” said Clark, who has a teenage son in CPS.

CTU President Karen Lewis:

“This Union has proven the Chicago labor movement is neither dormant nor dead,” Lewis continued. “Our members are on the line because we all believe there is an assault on our profession and public education in general. We will always do what is in the best interest of our students and our own children, many of whom attend these schools. We showed our solidarity and our strength, and with this new contract we have solidified our political power and captured the imagination of the nation. No one will ever look upon a teacher and think of him or her as a passive, person to be bullied and walked on ever again.”

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