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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Sep 13, 2012

Forum On Women In The Workplace Highlights Role Of Unions In Fight For Fair Employment Practices

Unions have been crucial in helping women get rights, better pay and benefits in the workplace, panelists at a forum in Waukegan stressed Wednesday evening.

With a backdrop of teacher strikes in Chicago and Lake Forest, this forum focused not on endorsing candidates for office, but on dispelling "ignorance" too often associated with unions, according to an organizer with the pro-union group Industrial Workers of the World.

“We are in the fight for our life,” said Helen Ramirez-Odell, a panelist at the forum who worked nearly 44 years as a Chicago Public Schools nurse and is now a CTU district supervisor. “It’s taken a lot to get teachers to this point.”

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PI Original
by Matthew Blake
Thu Sep 13, 2012

"The Union Cannot Strike In Chicago": SB7 And The CTU Strike

While the strike doesn’t mean SB7 has failed, it adds confusion about what’s next in Illinois education policy.

Quick Hit
by Brandon Campbell
Thu Sep 13, 2012

CTU Strike Day Three: Teachers Rally As Contract Talks Show Promise (VIDEO)

Day three of the Chicago Teachers Union strike saw simultaneous rallies Wednesday afternoon at three high schools across the city, which brought out thousands of teachers, parents, and children.

Progress Illinois caught up with teachers at John Marshall Metropolitan High School on the city’s West Side during one of the rallies. There, many teachers continued to hammer on the issues of overcrowded classes and their respective schools' lack of resources, like libraries, nurses and social workers, air conditioning, and computers. Yet, none complained of being paid too little or working too many hours.

“Overcrowding’s number one,” said Tony Heinrichs, a first-grade teacher at Falconer Elementary School. “Thirty-some kids in a classroom, it’s ninety-some degrees in the classroom, there’s not a lot of learning going on.”

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Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Sep 12, 2012

CTU Pushes Recall Demands Amid Fear Of School Closings

Today’s Chicago Tribune reports that once the teachers' strike ends the Chicago Public Schools will consider closing between 80 and 120 neighborhood schools on the South and West Sides. Except for Board of Education member Mahalia Hines, the Tribune cites anonymous sources and both the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS say they have no such plans.

But, according to Stacy Davis Gates, legislative and political director for the Chicago Teachers Union, “This rumor has been coursing for a while and we believe it, which is why we are pushing for a strong recall policy.” Both CPS and CTU say that a recall policy for recently laid off teachers is a sticking point in negotiations. CTU fears that school closings plus implementation of a teacher evaluation plan could mean CPS could let go of thousands of tenured teachers. Read more »