Tuesday, April 5, 2016

DISGUSTING...TO SAY THE LEAST!





I waited a few days to see if and how the mainstream news reported the Chicago Teachers Union big APRIL FOOL's event from Friday before posting this, and needless to say besides showing "peaceful gatherings" and marches and thousands of people blocking traffic for those workers trying to get home on a Friday afternoon, not much else was mentioned.  For all the hoop-la before the event not much was reported afterwards.

As for me, I work with some very dedicated and good teachers, and out of respect for them, I decided not to cross the picket line last Friday. But, for my own self-respect, here are over 20 reasons why I stayed home and DID NOT participate in any of the day's events.


Community Groups

Assata's Daughters 
Grassroots Collaborative
Teachers for Social Justice  
Grassroots Education Movement 
Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization 
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council 
Enlace 
BYP100 
Black Lives Matter Chicago 
ONE Northside 
Parents for Teachers 
St. James Lutheran – Acts of Love 
Village Leadership Academy 
Journey for Justice 
Black Scholars for Black Lives 
Northside Action for Justice 
Logan Square Neighborhood association 
Communities United 
350 Nation 
Bridging While Black 
Love & Protect 
Black on Both Sides 

Did the Union ask for input from its members before aligning themselves with all these groups? OF COURSE NOT!  The Union made unilateral decisions and then expected all of its members to follow along like good sheeple.  I would be embarrassed to be associated with these groups. 

Here are a couple of links that have been circulating from Friday's event to show just how much April 1st was NOT ABOUT THE TEACHER'S CONTRACT OR "THE CHILDREN"...

https://www.facebook.com/738197486317069/videos/773256259477858
Video of Page May from Assata's Daughter spewing racist remarks and hateful remarks against the police. She references her 13 year old students.  How nice that she is teaching them to hate at such a young age.


https://www.facebook.com/ctulocal1  To find this video, click this link and it's the first video on the left side of the CTU Facebook page.  (If someone has the direct link, I'd love to have it to post here.)

At the end of this clip, Karen Lewis the CTU President, tells BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100) that she is writing them a check "'cause they need it".  She was standing there as our Union president.  I wonder if she is planning to write that check from the CTU coffers or from her personal bank account?

All I can say is - 
DISGUSTING...TO SAY THE LEAST!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why this teacher voted NO - Updated!

Is it a coincidence that the Chicago Teachers Union is choosing April 1st to have a "day of action", or "holiday", or "one day strike" as Karen Lewis is now calling it? I don't think so.  It's April Fool's Day and we are going to be the fools.


Here was the first piece of propaganda that was shared with CTU members...



It's all about the children?!  Really?  What a crock that is.  It's all about a political chess game in Chicago and we are the pawns.

At first, Union members were told we were going to walk if Claypool (CPS) stopped putting in their portion of the Pension Pick Up agreed upon back in 1982.  Then Claypool said CPS would not stop making payments on April 1st but would wait instead until the fact finding portion of negotiations is over.  Now, I don't trust Claypool, and I am sure he has an ulterior motive of his own, but the fact of the matter is that the CTU gave up the "pension pick up benefit" in our last contract.  (The very same contract we went on strike for in 2012.)

It states in Article 36-4.3:
"This pension pick up will not constitute a continuing element of compensation or benefit beyond Fiscal Year 2015 or 2016 should this Agreement be extended for one year."

And, as everyone knows, CPS chose not to extend the contract for one more year.  They probably read this section and started doing a happy dance.  How smart was our Union to bargain away this benefit?  So, since Fiscal Year 2015 ended June 30, 2015, CPS can stop putting in pension pick up costs whenever they want.

So why is this April 1st debacle still being planned?

This directly from the CTU blog - 

Why the April 1 date?
CPS said they were taking away 7 percent of our pay starting with our April 1 paycheck. We anticipated that members would want to take action against that large pay cut and started making plans for an Unfair Labor Practice strike that day, which included getting other unions and groups on board to bolster our strength. CPS then said it would not take the 7 percent pay cut on April 1, but could do it on any other day following the fact finding period.
We acknowledge that it would have been best to have scheduled a meeting immediately after the Board of Ed rescinded the threat of the pick-up, but our House of Delegates emergency meeting was already scheduled for March 23.
So, the Board rescinds an action the Union didn't agree with from the start. The Union knows full well CPS is within their right to stop pension pick up payments.  CPS decides to hold off for now, and the Union still wants to protest?!

Delving deeper, it all becomes more clear.

Look who else is taking part in the April Fool's Fest already:

Labor GroupsUniversity Professors of Illinois local 4100
Northeastern University Illinois Faculty Union 
Chicago State University Faculty Union 
Fight for $15 
United Electrical Workers Western Region 
Alliance of Charter School Teachers and Staff 4343 
SEIU Healthcare Indiana, Illinois and Missouri 
Cook County College Teachers Union local 1600 
Amalgamated Transit Union local 308 
Jobs With Justice 

Community Groups
Grassroots Collaborative
Teachers for Social Justice  
Grassroots Education Movement 
Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization 
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council 
Enlace 
BYP100 
Black Lives Matter Chicago 
ONE Northside 
Parents for Teachers 
St. James Lutheran – Acts of Love 
Village Leadership Academy 
Journey for Justice 
Black Scholars for Black Lives 
Northside Action for Justice 
Logan Square Neighborhood association 
Communities United 
350 Nation 
Bridging While Black 
Love & Protect 
Black on Both Sides 


I looked up the community group Teachers for Social Justice - http://www.teachersforjustice.org/
This quote is from their site -
"April 1 in Chicago will be a day of mass action against austerity politics, racist violence, anti-immigrant and Islamaphobic attacks, the savaging of human needs in Illinois, growing poverty, attempts to smash unions, and economic violence against the vast majority of people in our state. And, it will be a day FOR justice, redistribution of wealth, progressive revenue solutions, full funding of our schools and human needs, and racial and social justice."





If this isn't enough to show how foolish the Union is going to look, we the Union members were asked to vote on this at our schools (to which I emphatically voted NO) and then a full vote will take place on Wednesday, March 23rd by the Union delegates.  Now, with all the hype on the news, the notes that already went home to parents, and all the other plans that are already completed, do you really think our votes matter? I believe the Chicago Machine is well at work here and this "vote" is a done deal. 

Karen Lewis may be the Chicago Teachers Union President, but she certainly isn't representing what is best for the members.  As far as I am concerned, her agenda is her own.



Here are other Questions and Answers from the CTU blog - 

Is it legal to strike April 1?
The Chicago Teachers Union officers’ strike proposal is legal. No judge or legal authority has ruled such a strike illegal. When Chicago Public Schools refused to pay CTU members our lanes and steps, we contend that was an unfair labor practice.
CPS will try to intimidate and divide our members by threatening retaliation and saying it is illegal. Unions can, however, withhold their labor to protest violations of labor law. In 2012 the mayor tried to declare our strike illegal, even though we played by their rules. We fully expect these threats again. CPS cannot replace 27,000 educators. When we are united and build strong alliances, there is little they can do to stop us.
Why are we asking members to strike on April 1?
CTU leadership is asking membership to strike on April 1 to demand revenue for our schools, and to build our momentum by joining with thousands of parents, community members and other labor organizations. This action would need to be approved by the CTU House of Delegates.
If the Union's elected delegates vote on March 23 to strike on April 1, we are asking members to start picketing their schools at 6:30 a.m. and not go to work. This is not a “walk out” or abandonment of children in classrooms. There will be other activities around the city throughout the day, in conjunction with other union workers, to demand the revenue needed to fund our schools and other services.
What should I tell parents?
Tell parents that their children deserve fully-funded schools, and that we, as educators, along with their families and communities, have the power to lead the city in a fight against the mayor and governor’s attacks. Ask them to join us as we stand ready to strike and lose one more day of pay to demand that the city and state put money back into our schools.
Why not strike on furlough days?
The furlough days were announced after we had started making plans for April 1 and are not good days for this action for these reasons: a) March 25 is Good Friday; b) the last two days of school in June are furlough days and don't have the same strength of purpose and universal participation as a strike day; c) other unions started the ball rolling for April 1 before we found out CPS was not giving us a pay cut that day; and d) The revenue solutions we need from the state will emerge in April (the Legislature is not scheduled to be in session in June), and our allies at Illinois universities and social services are facing devastating cuts due to Springfield inaction.
Are the furlough days enough for us to claim that the Board has engaged in bad faith bargaining, giving us legal precedent to legally strike?
Furlough days are not considered bad faith bargaining. CPS unfortunately has the right to call furlough days regardless of our contract.
Are the other labor unions that support the April 1 action striking as well, or are they just endorsing our action and coming to the rally in the evening?
Some of our allies also will not be at work that day. More specific information will be provided as it comes in.
Is the CTU at risk of participating in bad faith bargaining if we decide to strike prior to the conclusion of fact finding? And could this strike de-certify our union if it was deemed illegal?
No. We are still at the bargaining table. There is no law in place that would allow de-certification based on this one day of action.
What happens to those who are on maternity leave on April 1? Do they lose a day of pay?
If the schools are shut down, then CPS will not pay anyone, including those on maternity leave.
What should subs do if called to report to schools on April 1?
Subs should absolutely not go to work that day—they should join the picket lines.
Will there be repercussions if we strike April 1?
CPS will not be able to implement repercussions against all of our members other than what they were already planning to prior to April 1—cut pay, increase class sizes, strip special education services, open charter schools, refuse to find additional revenue, etc. If there are any repercussions, they will likely fall on union leadership, not individual members. If we stand together as one, we are all safe.
Do we have to wait to the end of the cooling off period to do an open-ended strike? Why not start a strike April 1 and keep it going?
There are legal repercussions if we start an open-ended contract strike before the end of the “cooling off” period, which is mandated by state law.
What will happen if students and some staff show up April 1?
If the March 23 House of Delegates meeting approves the April 1 action, we will publicize it to ensure that parents know to join us or to make other arrangements that day. Our goal is to have all staff participate in this action.
If we are out April 1, can CPS cancel our health insurance?
You do not need to be present on the first of every month to activate your insurance. If your employee status is active, you have health insurance.


Sources: 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Not enough money 'til the end of the school year?

First I get a letter today from the Chicago Teacher's Union stating that an April 1st strike cannot be ruled out, and then I see this in the newspaper stating CPS lacks cash to get through the rest of this year. Talk about setting the stage for an epic failure all around!

The highlights of the news article states: 

  • CPS states it will "better manage available funds" which leaves a heck of a lot of questions as to how it's been managed up 'til now!
  • Teachers be careful of what you spend...CPS is now going to make changes as to how employees are reimbursed.  
  • Principals are also asked to "conserve" and only spend money they really, really need. 
  • The district might even reset passwords used to approve purchases to try and cut-down on fraud. (See first bullet-point)
  • All purchases over $5000 would need district approval (the same group that is now going to "better manage available funds").
  • CPS will owe $700 million to the Pension Fund by the end of June BECAUSE FOR YEARS, THEY WEREN'T PAYING THEIR BILLS!

It's all legit, I'm sure. 

To read more about the whole sordid mess, click on the link below...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-cps-spending-cash-crunch-met-20160309-story.html




Monday, January 4, 2016

And they want $15.00 an hour...

Anyone who knows me at all knows cooking is not my forte.  I can count on one hand the foods that I actually prepare and cook, but I am an expert at ordering out, picking food up, and getting delivery. I'm also an expert when it comes to adding or subtracting without the use of a computer.



Recently, I offered to "cook" the best way I know how and went to Wendy's to buy lunch. I clearly placed the order into the microphone (because it was too cold to get out of the car).  I was asked to pull up to get the total which should have been my first clue that something had gone awry.  Once I arrived at the window, the worker very politely told me the computers just went down and that it would be a minute to get the total.  I smiled, rolled up my window, and patiently waited.  Within about a four minute period, the same woman came back to the window and told me it would just be a bit longer. I continued to smile and nod and patiently wait. When she opened her window all the way, I figured everything was A-OK, but she asked instead if I would be paying with cash. I told her I had a gift card, but depending on the total, I might have to add some cash to it. Now it was the workers turn to smile and nod and I continued to wait. I was quite hopeful when the lady came back and told me the computers were "reloading" but shortly thereafter, she opened the window one last time, handed me all of my food and said, "Here you go." I asked her how much I owed and she said I had been waiting long enough and the computers aren't coming back up. They didn't have a total, so I was just to take the food.  I asked in a few different ways about payment making sure she was really just giving me our meals. She insisted that I just take the food and asked if I would come visit them again. I told her I definitely would come back. (I wanted to drive back around to the little microphone right then and there, but I refrained.)

While I appreciate the worker's concern for the time that I spent waiting (which was probably only 7-8 minutes total), I couldn't believe the way they rectified the situation was to give me the food for free.  As a school teacher, I was biting my tongue so hard, I could almost taste blood.  I wanted to ask her to pass me a piece of paper and a pencil so I could add up the total. I would have even included the tax, but again I refrained. Forget the paper/pencil method, wasn't there one calculator available? Even if they couldn't figure out how to include the tax, they could've at least gotten some of their money. Again, the lady who waited on me was polite and courteous, but polite and courteous is only part of the job.  There needs to be a Plan B if the computers are down.  If they are still able to make the food, they need to figure out a way to get their money.

I must say, though, that was THE BEST Wendy's I ever had. Free is delicious!  And I did go back since then, but unfortunately for me, their computers were working.



Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!




May you and yours be surrounded by Christ's love this Christmas season!
!