| AFSCME and Chicago Teachers win when we stand together
AFSCME Council 31 members rallied in solidarity with CTU during the Chicago teachers’ strike last week (Photo: CNN)
AFSCME and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) have been bound together by a common cause: fighting to maintain and improve vital public services for the Windy City’s children. Before CTU made the front page of the New York Times, AFSCME members were fighting to protect Chicago’s libraries from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his zest for budget cuts. Thanks to the bold action of AFSCME Council 31 librarians, city libraries were kept open on Mondays and nearly all of the laid-off librarians were re-hired by the city.
Instead of learning to listen to the people who provide public services before taking action, Emanuel tried to force changes to the Chicago Public School system that would have been detrimental to many students’ education in pursuit of charter school and standardized test policies that do not work. AFSCME stood beside our CTU sisters and brothers, turned out for all of the rallies (even during the strike), communicated with local AFSCME members why this was such an important battle and told them how they could help.
Through their successful negotiations with the mayor, the teachers set an example for all public workers when dealing with anti-worker politicians. On Wednesday, employees of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)—the public employees who serve the Prairie State’s most at-risk children—rallied against Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed layoff of 500 workers. Just as AFSCME and other public service workers supported the striking teachers, CTU came out in force for these DCFS employees.
“Our children deserve better, and we’ve got to be the ones to point it out. It says something about our political environment when we leave children behind,” said Jackson Potter of CTU at the AFSCME rally for DCFS employees. “By standing by our brothers and sisters in AFSCME and DCFS—we are standing by our children to ensure their safety, well-being and success.”
The fight is long from over. Emanuel and Quinn have shown that they are willing to go after those public workers who work every day to serve the public and help their state’s children—librarians, teachers and now DCFS employees. AFSCME, CTU and other public employees must continue to stand together against these anti-worker politicians and their dangerous plans for public services.
OH: In Surprise Visit, Obama Delights AFSCME Members in Ohio
Pablo Ros, AFSCME Blog, 09/19/12
MI: Poll: Michigan emergency manager law losing support ahead of November referendum
Jonathan Oosting, mlive.com, 09/18/12
PA: Pennsylvania voter ID: High court wants review of voter ID access
Emily Schultheis, Politico, 09/18/12
Romney Uninterested in Half of Country He Wants to Lead
Cynthia McCabe, AFSCME Blog, 09/18/12
MI: Elected officials in Benton Harbor take steps to regain control of their city.
Lindsey Smith, Michigan Radio, 09/19/12
GOP blocks veterans jobs bill with budget vote
Ramsey Cox, The Hill, 09/19/12