WBEZ | labor strikes http://www.wbez.org/tags/labor-strikes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Teachers union in Puerto Rico wants to keep charter schools out of the country http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-21/teachers-union-puerto-rico-wants-keep-charter-schools-out-country-94240 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-21/puertorico1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2008, teachers in Puerto Rico joined with students and parents in an island-wide, 10-day strike decrying the state of education. The shutdown was a historic one, as it's against the law in Puerto Rico for teachers to strike. Their demands included higher wages, more funding for schools, and smaller classroom size. The strike also called for a policy that would keep charter schools out of the country's public school system.&nbsp;</p><p>In response to the strike, Governor <span class="st">Luis Fortuño </span>decertified the <a href="http://www.fmprlucha.org/" target="_blank">Teachers Federation of Puetro Rico, </a>the largest teachers union in the country.&nbsp; Mercedes Martinez, a union representative,&nbsp; took part in the 2008 strike.&nbsp; She gives us an update on what's happened to public education since then.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Nov 2011 17:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-21/teachers-union-puerto-rico-wants-keep-charter-schools-out-country-94240 Ford workers reject contract; possible strike looms http://www.wbez.org/story/ford-workers-reject-contract-possible-strike-looms-93135 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-13/Ford Explorer M.Spencer Green.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Workers at a Chicago Ford plant rejected the company's tentative four-year contract and are being told to prepare for a possible strike. Seventy-seven percent of the workers at the south side plant said no to Ford's proposal.</p><p>The proposed contract includes a $6,000 dollar signing bonus, profit-sharing in lieu of annual raises and adding 1,100 jobs to two Chicago area plants.</p><p>But new workers would be paid less than existing staffers. And as automotive analyst George Augustaitis said, workers want to see a piece of Ford's recent success.</p><p>"The workers who have been there a long time are saying, 'Hey, I've taken an eight year pay freeze, I want my windfall now,'" Augustaitis said.</p><p>Meantime, a Ford spokeswoman said the company thinks their offer is fair. Nine hundred workers at the Chicago Heights Ford plant are voting on the contract today.</p><p>Union officials and plant workers did not immediately return calls for comment.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/ford-workers-reject-contract-possible-strike-looms-93135 New school board to mull teacher raises today http://www.wbez.org/story/new-school-board-mull-teacher-raises-today-87855 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-14/Katie Hogan1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago’s new Board of Education will convene for the first time Wednesday to address a hot topic: whether the district can afford $100 million in raises scheduled for unionized employees.</p><p>Less than four years ago, it was Chicago Public Schools that pushed the Chicago Teachers Union for an agreement that locked teachers into 4 percent raises each year until 2012. Now that the economy has soured and federal stimulus dollars have run out, the district says it will be $720 million in the hole next year. That’s despite about $75 million in planned cuts from the school district’s central-office budget.</p><p>Some teachers see more to trim there.</p><p>“There are still large numbers of very well-paid bureaucrats,” says Debby Pope, a history and psychology teacher at Gage Park High School. “There are still all kinds of incredible waste. Why don’t they put the money into the classrooms and the teachers? That’s when we’ll see school improvement.”</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has not explained how it came up with the deficit figure, prompting teachers to call for the district to open its books before asking unions for any concession. This is the second year in a row the board has held an emergency meeting to consider whether it can afford the raises. Last year the district went ahead with the hikes, but then laid off 1,050 teachers and 200 coaches.</p><p>If the board decides it can not afford the teacher raises, the district and union will have a chance to negotiate a new salary schedule. If those talks fail, the union could open the entire contract, leaving the district vulnerable to a strike.</p><p>If the board approves the raises, it will be the eighth consecutive year Chicago teachers get a 4 percent pay bump. On top of that, teachers get raises as they gain years of experience and earn additional degrees.</p></p> Wed, 15 Jun 2011 23:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-school-board-mull-teacher-raises-today-87855 History of protests in Illinois labor talks http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-09/history-protests-illinois-labor-talks-83456 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/SEIU Getty-Tim Boyle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Much attention has focused on how the Illinois state legislature might be prepared to take on public employee benefits &ndash; either to solve its budget deficit or change the way government works. But what about the other side of the equation? How ready are unions and their allies should benefits or rights be challenged?<br /><br />Illinois has played a role in the recent events in Wisconsin - the state&rsquo;s provided safe harbor to some of the runaway Democratic legislators. But no large scale protests have yet been hosted in the Prairie State. So is Illinois down for the count or ramping up for a fight?<br /><br />University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ler.illinois.edu/faculty/fp_ashby.html">Steven Ashby</a> joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to assess the history and future of protesting in Illinois.</p></p> Wed, 09 Mar 2011 15:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-09/history-protests-illinois-labor-talks-83456