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.
With a rave review by CTU striker Marilena Marchetti published today in the Socialist Worker, Micah Uetricht's book Strike for America continues to garner diverse and enthusiastic press coverage for its portrayal of the Chicago Teacher's Union strike in 2012.
Marchetti's piece combines a thoughtful analysis of the book with an inspiring account of her own experience on the picket line, and confirms Uetricht's description of the support that the striking CTU received from the greater-Chicago community.
From large general-interest publications such as Salon, to literary outlets like Lit/Rant, to radical publications like the International Socialist Network, which insisted that "every trade unionist and socialist worth their salt should read this book," the Internet has been abuzz about Strike for America.