WBEZ | chicago teachers' union http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-teachers-union-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cullerton to Chicago Teachers Union: “Of course this would avoid a strike” http://www.wbez.org/news/cullerton-chicago-teachers-union-%E2%80%9C-course-would-avoid-strike%E2%80%9D-113805 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cullerton.JPG" alt="" /><p><div>Chicago Public Schools has laid off round after round of teachers and other employees over the past couple years. Thousands are gone. District officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel warn: If the state doesn&rsquo;t do something by February to help CPS with its $500 million budget hole, there&rsquo;ll be even more layoffs.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>John Cullerton is a Chicago Democrat and state Senate president. &nbsp;He says he has a plan, and that plan--outlined in <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=318&amp;GAID=13&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;LegId=84279&amp;SessionID=88" target="_blank">Senate Bill 318</a>-- has something for everyone, including lawmakers, the governor, school districts &nbsp;and unions. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what a compromise is,&rdquo; Cullerton said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what a package is.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But there&rsquo;s a hitch. Some of the very people Cullerton wants to help - Chicago teachers - their union is not on board.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know the logic of the teachers&rsquo; union being opposed to the bill,&rdquo; Cullerton said. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s maybe because, you know, the Board of Ed is for it and, therefore they have to be against it. That&rsquo;s all I can figure, you know? The mayor&rsquo;s for it, they&rsquo;re against it because they had a fight with him in the past.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-strike-after-talks-fail-102287" target="_blank">Remember the 2012 teachers&rsquo; strike?</a> That&rsquo;s the fight Cullerton is referring to. And there&rsquo;s been talk of a second teachers strike under Emanuel over the district&rsquo;s current finances.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Of course this would avoid a strike,&rdquo; Cullerton said. &ldquo;There wouldn&rsquo;t be any need for them to lose their pension pick-up in their contract negotiations. There wouldn&rsquo;t be any layoffs. I don&rsquo;t know what else they&rsquo;re striking about.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Three-eighteen is not about stopping a strike. Three-eighteen is about destroying our school system,&rdquo; said Stacy Davis Gates, the legislative coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Davis Gates is referring there to something Cullerton himself wants the bill to accomplish. &nbsp;Along with peppering Senate Bill 318 <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/851622/cullerton-introduce-federal-funding-bill-property-tax-hike" target="_blank">with things like</a> a property tax freeze to get Gov. Bruce Rauner in, and teacher pension payments for Emanuel, Cullerton added a remake of the state&rsquo;s school funding formula--one of his own major goals. He says under the way state government currently gives money to schools, poor districts like Chicago don&rsquo;t get the money they should and wealthier districts are getting more than they should.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So Cullerton&rsquo;s bill puts an expiration date on the current way Illinois funds schools. In effect, he says he wants to end a bad system to make way for a better one. But Davis Gates with the Teachers Union says the union has a big problem with that. You can&rsquo;t end school funding first coming up with a way to replace it, she argues.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;This bill, again, is irresponsible,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;You cannot say that we are providing a solution to a problem when you eliminate the entire revenue stream to the school district.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The teachers union also wants big things that aren&rsquo;t in Cullerton&rsquo;s bill, like a new income tax system and an elected Chicago school board. &nbsp;In the meantime, the clock is ticking on Chicago Public Schools. District leaders say they have only a few months before cuts will be necessary - right in the middle of the school year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Becky Vevea contributed to this story. She is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her @WBEZeducation.&nbsp;</em><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cullerton-chicago-teachers-union-%E2%80%9C-course-would-avoid-strike%E2%80%9D-113805 Teachers unions say McDonald’s exploits teachers with fundraiser http://www.wbez.org/news/teachers-unions-say-mcdonald%E2%80%99s-exploits-teachers-fundraiser-113346 <p><div>About a year ago, Mark Noltner&rsquo;s daughter came home from kindergarten carrying a flyer with a picture of Ronald McDonald on it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;She told me that some of the teachers were wearing &lsquo;McTeacher&rsquo;s&rsquo; shirts to school,&rdquo; he recalled, &ldquo;And trying to entice the students to go to McDonald&rsquo;s that evening where the teachers would be working behind the counter and serving unhealthy food to them.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Noltner, a northwest suburban parent and teacher was appalled. And the experience led him to join a <a href="http://commercialfreechildhood.org/3-million-teachers-mcdonalds-were-not-lovin-it#.Vh5FVvtwO7U.twitter" target="_blank">campaign </a>this week involving more than 50 teachers unions that are urging McDonald&rsquo;s, CEO Steve Easterbrook, to end the fundraisers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><object data="http://commercialfreechildhood.org/sites/default/files/openlettertomcdonalds.pdf#toolbar=0&amp;messages=0" height="400" type="application/pdf" width="620"><p>It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. No worries, just <a href="http://commercialfreechildhood.org/sites/default/files/openlettertomcdonalds.pdf">click here to download the PDF file.</a></p></object></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When McDonald&rsquo;s corporate representatives were presented with similar criticism at a shareholder&rsquo;s meeting earlier this year, the company responded, with this statement to WBEZ: &ldquo;McTeacher&rsquo;s Nights are fundraisers initiated by schools to raise money for their schools. It&#39;s a local community initiative, not something managed at the national nor global level.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But Kara Kaufman of activist group Corporate Accountability International, which is organizing the anti-McTeacher&rsquo;s night campaign, said she doesn&rsquo;t believe it. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We know that this a tactic that is driven by McDonald&rsquo;s corporate,&rdquo; Kaufman said Wednesday. &ldquo;Just from public listings, we&rsquo;ve been able to document 360 McTeacher&rsquo;s events in 30 states. So it&rsquo;s simply not possible that this is driven by only a handful of franchisees.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><p>Indeed, late on Wednesday (five months after McDonald&#39;s said it doesn&#39;t centrally manage the fundraisers) the company issued a statement suggesting that it does manage the fundraisers at its company owned restaurants and they&#39;ve generated more than $2.5 million in McTeachers donations in less than two years.</p><p>&ldquo;McTeacher&rsquo;s Nights are all about community, fun and fundraising. As parents and members of their communities, McDonald&rsquo;s franchisees and our corporate restaurants have long supported what matters most to them. McTeacher&rsquo;s Nights are one example....some of our company-owned restaurants conduct McTeacher Night fundraisers and since they are owned by the company, we know how much has been given to schools and organizations through these events. From January 2013 through September 2015, the company-owned restaurants have paid over $2,525,000 to organizations for donations from McTeacher Nights.&quot;</p></div><div>Fundraising potential aside, critics of the program believe they place a stamp of approval on a food category that hurts children.&nbsp; A 2004 <a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/1/112.abstract" target="_blank">study in the journal <em>Pediatrics</em>&nbsp;</a>linked fast food consumption among young people with diminished dietary quality that could &ldquo;plausibly lead to obesity.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Among the unions protesting the practice is the Chicago Teachers Union, whose vice president Jesse Sharkey issued this statement:&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div><em>&ldquo;It is wholly inappropriate for McDonald&rsquo;s to exploit cash-strapped schools to market its junk food brand, while </em><em>miring</em><em> its workers in poverty, effectively hollowing out the tax base for our schools. In Chicago we face potentially devastating cuts to our schools, yet one of the world&rsquo;s richest corporations operating in our backyard is exploiting this situation by eroding the school food environment and our students&#39; health in the long-run.&rdquo;</em></div></blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/McDonalds%20corporate.jpg" style="height: 169px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" title="More than 50 teachers unions called on McDonald’s Wednesday to stop its McTeacher’s Nights. McDonald’s corporate office in Oak Brook said it does not manage the controversial McTeacher’s Nights fundraisers, but activists believe there is national coordination. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></p><div>CAI and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said they conducted an economic survey of McTeacher&rsquo;s Night events&nbsp;and concluded that the fundraisers end up earning about $1 to $2 per child, and rarely more than $1,000 for the entire night.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Noltner doesn&rsquo;t see this as a great trade off for anyone.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Teachers work really hard to build a sense of trust between them and their students,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And hearing that McDonald&rsquo;s is kind of exploiting this relationship to sell a product really frustrated me...I guess I have to ask: Is that $1 or $2 per student really worth the health of a child later in life?&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ food and health reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at <a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org?subject=McTeachers">meng@wbez.org</a></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 14 Oct 2015 15:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/teachers-unions-say-mcdonald%E2%80%99s-exploits-teachers-fundraiser-113346 Chicago Teachers Union vows to make school closings political http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-union-vows-make-school-closings-political-106661 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS6345_AP765841686009-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Angry over school <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202" target="_blank">a proposal</a> that would close down an unprecedented number of schools, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis Monday vowed to launch a &ldquo;comprehensive and aggressive political action campaign&rdquo; with the ultimate goal of defeating Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other local elected officials supportive of school closings.<br /><br />&ldquo;If the mayor and his hand-picked corporate school board will not listen to us, we must find those who will,&rdquo; Lewis said.<br /><br />Lewis said union members would continue to oppose the closings through hearings and protests &ldquo;until the board rubber stamps this plan on May 22, and on May 23 we&rsquo;re going right back in the streets.&rdquo;<br /><br />The union says it wants to put a minimum of 100,000 new voters on Chicago&rsquo;s rolls. Lewis says union organizers will go door to door in neighborhoods where schools are closing and where teachers are losing jobs &ldquo;due to this administration.&rdquo;<br /><br />The union also plans to increase donations to its political action committee and vet potential candidates.<br /><br />Lewis called the dozens of public hearings being held by the district&nbsp; &ldquo;most likely sham events&rdquo; and said they&rsquo;re &ldquo;designed to provide therapy to people impacted by their decisions.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />The union released an analysis today &mdash; Lewis referred to it as an &ldquo;autopsy&rdquo; &mdash; of Guggenheim Elementary, which was closed last year.<br /><br />The union says Guggenheim was neglected, with overcrowded classrooms and just two working computers in the library. Advocates say once the proposal to shut down the school was announced, the principal improperly tried to push homeless children to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/parents-school-slated-closure-tried-move-students-out" target="_blank">transfer</a>. Once Guggenheim was closed, only 37 percent of students went to the designated CPS receiving school. Catalyst-Chicago has <a href="http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/news/2013/04/03/20943/losing-track" target="_blank">reported</a> that CPS has lost track of 23 Guggenheim kids, and cannot say where they ended up.</p><p>The union says other schools live in fear of being shut down. It says the district had trouble closing four schools last year, now it&rsquo;s trying to close 54.<br /><br />Chicago Public Schools spokesman Dave Miranda says the district is taking a new approach this year.</p><p>&ldquo;Unlike in the past, CPS will work aggressively and proactively to reach parents at all sending schools to encourage them to enroll their children in their dedicated higher-performing welcoming schools,&quot; he said. &quot;We want to ensure that students can benefit from the additional investments that will be made in welcoming schools for the fall.&rdquo;<br /><br />A spokeswoman for the mayor said this is &quot;simply not the time for politics.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Barbara Byrd-Bennett has proposed a plan for Chicago Public Schools, with Mayor Emanuel&#39;s support, that finally puts our children first,&quot; the spokeswoman said.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Linda Lutton is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Mon, 15 Apr 2013 17:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-union-vows-make-school-closings-political-106661