The Chicago Teachers Union strike was the most important domestic labor struggle so far this century—and perhaps for the last forty years—and the strongest challenge to the conservative agenda for restructuring education, which advocates for more charter schools and tying teacher salaries to standardized testing, among other changes.The teachers took on the bipartisan, free market school reform agenda that is currently exacerbating inequality in education and waging war on teachers' livelihoods. In the age of austerity, when the public sector is under attack, Chicago teachers fought back—and won.
May 1st marks International Workers' Day, a festival of working-class self-organization stretching back over 130 years. It was originally inaugurated to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago, where a bomb thrown during a worker's strike kicked off a period of anti-labor hysteria.
May Day 2015 in London saw a rally of trade unions, migrant workers & London’s many communities and other organisations finishing in Trafalgar Square. 2016 demos include speakers such as Yannis Gourtsoyhannia (from the Junior Doctor’s dispute), Christine Blower (the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, to talk about the government’s attacks on education), Frances O'Grady (TUC General Secretary), Jeremy Corbyn, and John McDonnell. See the full details here!
In New York there's a rally and march in Union Square on Sunday starting at noon, in Los Angeles there's a May Day March and Bernie Sanders rally on Saturday starting at 3pm, and in Oakland there's a rally at the Fruitvale Bart starting at noon. See an incomplete list of May Day activities here.
This May Day we bring you the following reading list, AND we're doing a FLASH SALE with 50% off all of them! Don't forget - we have free worldwide shipping and free bundled ebooks where available!
On Friday, April 1st, the Chicago Teachers Union is holding a walkout and "day of action" to demand a better contract and protest the state's chronic underfunding of city schools.
"I guess the important thing to say is we're just very conscious of the fact that we're part of a broader movement that needs to figure out how to fund social services," CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey told the Chicago Tribune, "and we're trying to ask people to see April 1 in that broader context." For more on Friday's strike, see Mark Brenner in Labor Notes, and Micah Uetricht's interview with CTU executive board member Sarah Chambers in Jacobin.
Below, we present an excerpt from Uetricht's Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity, on the history of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE), the grouping that took control of the CTU in 2010, and which has been largely responsible for the more militant and effective tactics that have come to define the union in recent years.
In solidarity with the CTU day of action, Micah Uetricht's "Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity" is 50% off print and 90% off the ebook for today, April 1 (North America only).
When the slate put forward by the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) won the 2010 election for the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), it made few headlines. Some Chicago media covered it, as did a few prescient bloggers, but most ignored it. Stories about labor get short shrift in the mainstream press these days, and stories about internal union battles are almost entirely off the radar. But if local journalists had examined the 2010 CTU leadership election closely they would have realized that, in many ways, a referendum on two starkly different visions of teacher unionism by Chicago’s 26,000 educators had just taken place.