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View Diary: Chicago teachers vote overwhelmingly to strike. Here's why they're right to ask for a big raise. (212 comments)

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  •  The head of the union has a ready reply: (10+ / 0-)

    "You don't start negotiating with a floor. You start by asking for the highest".

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:21:01 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  that's not going to be the headline. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      belzaboo, nipit, not this time, filby

      i just hear the pre-written right wing talking points reinforcing their memes about the "greedy teachers unions" already starting to emanate...

      In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

      by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let them. A 2% raise for 20% more work is (13+ / 0-)

        unconscionable.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:26:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  when the average working man (7+ / 0-)

          hasn't seen a raise in years and has no health insurance, "unconscionable" is quite relative.

          In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

          by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:27:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe they should form unions too, rather than... (18+ / 0-)

            ...begrudging others who have the temerity to demand what is fair?  

            •  until that happens though... (5+ / 0-)

              they should make fair demands. ones that aren't going to raise the taxpayer's eyebrow - now is the time to be flying under the radar if you're going to be making requests like that.

              In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -John Adams

              by rcnewton on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 01:49:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's where a good PR team is invaluable. (5+ / 0-)

                Set the message.  Frame the argument.  Manipulate people's feelings.  

                These are things the repubs do really well.  We have to stop being afraid to do the same thing.  If we don't, we'll never win.  

                •  Yes! Explain to Chicago parents, many of whom (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Urban Owl, not this time, WillR, rcnewton

                  make less than the average Chicago teacher, that they need to pay more taxes to give Chicago teachers a 30% raise!

                  It doesn't matter whether or not this is a justified demand.

                  The optics are so bad that there's no way it will fly.

                  Rahm's a street fighter.  He doesn't pick fights unless he knows how he is going to win them.  I think it is far more likely he will break the union over this than give in.

                  •  if (4+ / 0-)

                    fellow members of the middle class allow unions to be broken over this, then fellow members of the middle class will eventually wind up getting even more of what they deserve than they have these last 20 years.

                  •  If the optics are so bad (7+ / 0-)

                    we need to roll over and play dead, then we might as well close the damned schools. I honestly cannot believe the groundless right-wing driven hostility toward teachers here. Tell the damned public that if they don't want to pay teachers — highly educated professionals with much more education than the parents who are being paid less — then they should EXPECT the inferior schools they have earned. And tell them at the same time that they should demand their doctors not be paid anymore than they are as well. That is a crappy little right-wing argument.

                    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

                    by anastasia p on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:49:15 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So go make your argument (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rcnewton

                      $10 says it's a loser.

                    •  Ok (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rcnewton

                      I'm a Texas teacher.  I haven't gotten a raise in three years and probably won't get one next year.  Lately they let us know what we will be making after school starts or right before.  I will let you decide why that is.   When we used to get raises, they would be 2 or 3% and that was consistent with the other districts around the DFW area.

                      We can't strike in Texas, so that isn't an option, although many school districts are suing the state for not adequately funding the schools when there is a rainy day fund that Rick Perry doesn't want to use for schools.  This isn't surprising in view of the fact that the first stimulus funds that were supposed to go to education were used to plug other holes in the budget so that the Rs could say they balanced the budget and pat themselves on the back.  

                      I think teachers should be paid more than we are, and should get a raise each year, especially if time and/or responsibilities are increased, but come on.  Asking for a 24% raise is ridiculous and will make people think all of the "greedy" teacher talking points are true.  A 5% raise would be a reasonable request in this economy.   I rarely think that teachers are in the wrong on these kinds of issues, but in this case I have to say that it is going overboard and doesn't do teachers' unions any favors.  

                      •  So their workload is increasing by somewhere (5+ / 0-)

                        between ten percent and twenty four percent and they should be "reasonable" and accept a five percent raise???  Seriously?  And your a teacher?  You do realize that it would result in a reduction of actual pay, don't you?  You complain about not having gotten raises, but you think Chicago teachers should happily accept a huge reduction in pay???  I just don't get the thinking process of the naysayers here.  It's like they think the teachers are just jumping in and demanding a twenty four percent increase with no increase in their workload.  NO.  The teachers are going to be working a hell of a lot more.  Why in the world would in be fair that they not be receiving a comparable raise?  They still wouldn't be getting an actual raise - they'd be staying the same.

                        Really, if other teachers can't think that one through, what hope is there for Dems?????

                        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                        by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:10:36 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  10 days longer + longer school day (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JanL, happymisanthropy

                    will significantly lower their child care bills (for elementary age parents anyway).

                    Longer school day can have other direct benefits as well. For example, if a longer school day means the homework is all done at school instead of at home, it's a big win for parents.

                    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                    by elfling on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:37:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Do you really not get that the working class rises (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mike08, JanL, happymisanthropy, jofr

                    and falls together????

                    Begrudge one group an increase and the rest will never get the opportunity to rise, either.  

                    If Rahm is willing to break the union over this, it will show his true colors even more than his past behaviors.  And remember, while you may agree with Rahm that he's all powerful, there's nothing like arrogance to help someone fall hard.  

                    90 percent of all teachers voted against this.  A twenty four percent raise is a starting point for negotiations.  If Rahm is going to stick his heels in at giving them a two percent raise with a ten or twenty percent increase in workload, I'd like to know how he thinks he's going to manage to replace ninety percent of the teachers in order to break the union.  Methinks he just might have let his head get so big, he might end up being the one who's broken if he's not willing to be more reasonable.

                    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                    by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:04:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  what teachers make has little to do with what (5+ / 0-)

                    other people make.  The question is this:  do you want good teachers or don't you.  If the answer is yes, then pay them.  if you don't care all that much, then fine, don't pay them.  But expect the best teaching candidates to go to school systems where either the pay is better or the teacher support is better.

                    You must realize that there are way better places to teach than the Chicago public schools.  It has a decades long, national reputation for being a terrible place to work.  If you want to improve the quality of teaching/teachers in Chicago, fire a bunch of admins who aren't properly supervising teachers, pay top dollar for teachers, and stop talking about how much everyone else is making when you set teacher's salaries.

              •  I suspect (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy

                that this is more about your personal feelings re teachers than it is about Right Wing talking points.

              •  so... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gustynpip, happymisanthropy, jofr

                now is the time to be timid, be a sheep, and continue to be a downtrodden member of the downtrodden middle class? We'll have to agree to disagree on that.

              •  I've been flying under the radar screen for 40 yrs (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy

                And I'm tired of it.   Thanks, but I'd rather retain my dignity at this point.

          •  are you working (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jofr, happymisanthropy

            For Rahm?  

            OBAMA'S GUIDING PRINCIPLES: HOLD NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE. LOOK FORWARD.

            by snoopydawg on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 02:00:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm on the teachers' side in this, but I have to (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              antirove, gffish, rcnewton, sfgb

              agree with rcnewton on one point: the way the 24% raise looks to the public is not good.
              I'm not disputing the fairness of it -- my bet is that there have been years with no raises, staff shortages, and other problems that justify the 24%. But it looks like a high number and that's not good for teachers winning hearts and minds.
              I think there needs to be more explanation -- so people understand the reason for this large increase -- not just the increased work hours (though that's significant) but also how many years they've gone without raises or with raises so small as to be non-existent; what kind of class size they're dealing with and what sort of problems they encounter on a daily basis; what are the curriculum requirements (in our school system teachers are required to assign a certain amount of homework per week and to test kids a certain number of times per grading period which means a huge amount of grading work for teachers -- I bet there's some of this in Chicago also). Laura mentions some of the latter, but I think it should be spelled out -- that on average teachers spend x number of hours at home grading papers (I bet it's quite a few hours).
              I think if people were told the extent to which teachers work well beyond the school day and what daily problems they deal with are like, it would make it clear why they deserve a lot more pay.

              We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

              by Tamar on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:55:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I just calculated out the extra hours (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tamar, Mike08, JanL, happymisanthropy, jofr

                in another comment. I estimated 18,250 additional minutes of instructional time and then divided by an estimated 76,000 minutes of current contracted time and got 24%. Like magic.

                So I think the number is in fact not pulled out of the air.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:52:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  we've been doing all that 'splaining for years (6+ / 0-)

                It gets you nowhere.  It is very frustrating, but much of it really comes down to people seeing teaching as women's work, and it just galls even so called liberals that the teaching profession pays a living wage.

                •  Maybe that's part of it but I think it's the anti- (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, rcnewton, sfgb, ladybug53

                  government worker mentality that's really operating. We pay taxes, these people work for us, and some of them have better jobs (benefits or pay) than we do!
                  But they never apply that same thinking to health insurance company executives -- who do they think is paying the salaries of the overpaid top people in the for-profit insurance industry? It's all of us little premium payers and our employers and we don't have the protections or recourse that we would if they were part of the government.
                  My dad worked for the federal government all his life -- he was an accountant and an auditor on outside contractors and he saved the government huge amounts of money. He was scrupulously honest and he went after cheating contractors relentlessly. He brought statistical sampling as a technique for audits to the the Air Force (and they thanked him by refusing to give him any work until he got sick of it and found a job in another agency. I just realized, dumb me, that the reason they hated him was not because he brought change but because he endangered their cozy relationships with defense contractors.) He worked a full day every day and took work home. But no one ever thinks of someone like him when they say "government bureaucrat."

                  We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                  by Tamar on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:27:25 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  We should encourage ALL workers (6+ / 0-)

            to stand up for better salaries and benefits. Standing together we can improve working conditions for us and our children. The 1% loves to see us divided.

          •  Man? What an interesting slip of the tongue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            Teaching remains a predominantly female profession, so why don't we just admit that's why you're offended when teachers get a raise.  I can always tell when a man doesn't make as much as a teaching salary - it infuriates him.

          •  First of all, teachers ARE "the average working (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jofr, sfgb

            PERSON".  

            Second, the reason the "average working" person hasn't seen a raise in years is because Republicans, so-called Democrats and business complain when labor asks for raises.  Now you're joining in that chorus:  the Chicago teacher's union takes a stand on their own pay, and you're criticizing the move.  

            If you stand in the way when some working people demand raises, you can't complain when your "average working man" doesn't get one.  Because your own arguments have contributed to the process of tamping down wages.  

            Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

            by Big River Bandido on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:07:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  But if the pay and benefits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rcnewton

          packages are fairly close to other big cities already, while the school day length is much less then your argument is much weaker. This is what's going to be the issue. Right now they are still squabbling over the the exact comparisons, but it will not be as neat and simple as you may expect. And Dailey promised a 4% (I believe that's right) raise to keep peace in anticipation of getting the Olympics and specifically contingent on enough revenues. Neither of those things happened, and the teachers feel there was a broken promise, even though it was always contingent. It's messy, not as clear-cut as many think.

          The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.- Marcel Proust

          by CoyoteMarti on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 09:38:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Untrue. (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, Mostel26, gffish, elfling, gustynpip, JanL

        Last night overnight WGN radio's cure for insomnia, Bill Leff, asked for comment on the issue and he got more callers on the positive end, explaining how badly the teachers have been being screwed for years. And WGN is no liberal bastion.

      •  And that's how progressives always manage (6+ / 0-)

        to lose.  So damn scared.  Do the rethugs ever worry about how ridiculous they are will make them sound?  No.  But Dems always think they have to walk on eggshells and not ever risk offending anyone because we'll get bad press.  So we give away the store before the rethugs even ask for it and then can't figure out why we always lose.

        Let's worry less about the headlines; let's worry about what's right instead and then work at Making the headlines what they should be.

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:58:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The RW talking points will be the same if they cut (0+ / 0-)

        pay.  You can't worry about them.  As I've seen noted here about other issues, they are wingnuts.

        The sad fact of the matter is that so called liberals don't support public education in substantive ways.

    •  I don't think that's the point. (7+ / 0-)

      They need to be talking about school closings, school overcrowding, class size, privatization, gentrification, and curriculum, not just money!  It's mind-boggling, but not entirely unsurprising, to hear that CTU is going to manage to fuck this up.

    •  and he's absolutely right (0+ / 0-)

      It's the way negotiations work.  I find it hard to believe that a community as sophisticated as this doesn't get that.

      •  There are many ways... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rcnewton

        ...to negotiate.

        One is to set outrageous demands and expect to make major "compromises". This approach is often unwise. First, the optics are bad -- which is especially a problem in a public sector job. Second, you end up planning to "give in" without most of your demands being met. This really is not a good position to be in because you are now negotiating how deep and fast a slide down you will take, not seriously defending a reasonable demand. Third, the next time you come to the negotiating table, the other side knows that you do make major concessions because you have in the past.

        Another approach is to set a "take it or leave it" approach and refuse to negotiate (except, of course, to meet "good faith" requirements by offering to trade things but without changing the "net net"). This approach is usually unwise as it makes you appear inflexible. It also gives the other side no room to "save face" -- and this is an unwise position to put the other side in.

        Generally a better way is to make a reasonable demand slightly above what you expect to end with and make it clear that there's not a lot of room for negotiation -- and be willing to fight hard (including, if needed, in a Union job to strike for months to prove that point or, in a non Union job, to quit). This approach has good optics because the demands are reasonable and it also makes your position stronger in future negotiations. It also leaves a little "face saving" room for your opponent while also allowing you to show yourself to be "reasonable" and "willing to make compromises".

        It sounds like the CTU chose the first approach. Perhaps the Union leaders know what they are doing but from a distance, it doesn't look like a great approach.

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