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Collective bargaining works

An interesting blog post from Fred Klonsky - a retired Chicago public school teacher

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jan 29, 2016

Every now and then a tiny little blogger will put something out that really catches our eye here at UCOMM. I found this on twitter and it's interesting because it offers perspective from the old timer generation, and with union membership down in neighboring Wisconson because collective bargaining rights were stripped away from cheesehead teachers, Fred's perspective is more than just perspective. What this dude wrote below is a matter of common sense and survival. Nice work to Fred Klonsky and the Chicago Federation of Teachers.

My Twitter feed came alive yesterday afternoon with news that the Chicago Teachers Union had announced that they had received a serious offer from the Chicago Public School Board. The CTU bargaining team will consider it on Monday and members get to vote on any deal. So, it is too soon to tell if there is a settlement.

But there will be a settlement. That is the power of collective bargaining. It is democratic. It can be messy. And it works. That is why Governor Bruce Rauner hates collective bargaining rights so much.

My old union local was a unique one in that we elected our negotiating team. Most teacher locals in the state have their team selected by the leadership. We liked it our way. Some teacher would have a bug up their butt about some issue or another and run for a seat on the team. And if they were elected they would inevitably go through a process of seeing the big picture, how their single issue – important as it was – fit into the larger scheme of things. They became a representative of all the teachers. It never failed.

However a local chooses to assemble a team, it works. Agreements eventually get reached. This is what the Governor and the rest of the union-haters want to destroy.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. If the Governor’s attempt to destroy public employee collective bargaining is successful, if he gets his turnaround agenda, if the Supreme Court rules against agency fees in the Friedrich’s case, they will have big trouble on their hands. Labor disputes don’t disappear just because the Governor says they should. An agreement between the CTU and CPS demonstrates what happens when there is a process. Without a fair and clearly defined process?

The Governor wanted to shake up Springfield. It will get shaken, alright.

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