CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION STRIKE
1. The morning of, before I get to school.
- •Preface:This is my second year teaching and living in Chicago, so I wasn't involved in the last strike that took place.
- •All year there have been rumors and stirrings that a strike was imminent
- •I've been waiting for/dreading this.
- •April 1st, today, is the real official one day strike decided by the teachers unionI've never been involved in a union before or worked in a place where unions are so influential.
- •In Chicago, public school teachers don't really have a choice to join the union.When I started teaching they told me that the dues come out whether I sign up or not. (Because they're collectively arguing for everyone's contract, see the California Supreme Court case going on rn)
- •My school is extremely union heavy, as most public schools here are.Every teacher wears red on Fridays to show support, the whole school shows up to union meetings, everyone has a CTU sticker on their classroom door
- •Last year leaving school 3 teachers cornered me in the parking lot and asked if I was with them or if I was a turn coat.
- •There has been lots of tension and energy leading up to this one day strike, or "Day of Action" as the union calls itPoliticians calling it illegal and a tantrum thrown by the union.
- •I think the CTU provides really good services for teachers
- •But I don't agree with all that the union does.I think it protects teachers rights to the point of detriment of kids sometimes. I've seen first hand that it certainly protects bad teachers. But I also don't think that the government of Illinois has student and teacher welfare in mind. Schools don't make enough money for that.
- •So this morning, I'm going to get up and stand and picket outside my school.I'm nervous to see if my students will show up.
- •My school is a contingency site, so students from 6 neighboring schools can come if they need a place to go.It's good that the students will have a place that's safe and warm and be fed a meal. I'm nervous that students and parents will now be crossing gang lines to go to school today.
- •I was told if I don't show up or I cross the picket line then I would have to be put on trial by teachers union, and pay a fine.I don't really know what that entails, but it sounds scary.
- •I keep having dreams that I was tricked into crossing the line and the teachers at my school all screamed at me and that the union leaders show up with cameras.
- •I'm nervous to stand out in front of my school with students who are potentially crossing gang lines.
- •I'm nervous to stand outside my school for 4 hours with the amount of violence that occurs every day in that neighborhood.
- •I'm nervous that my presence is contributing to an organization that I'm contractually bound by but not morally sure of.
- •It's 5:45 am. Time to get up and go.