Have you ever participated in a strike?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bella84, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    There are much better ways to provide a good education for your students than by abusing the teachers.
     
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  2. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I think I would have a hard time with an unpaid day. In our state that would be a day that I would have to buy back in the retirement system and it would count as a breech of contract. Was there not an option to use a sick or personal day to avoid that?
     
  3. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    That's pure ignorance.

    There are plenty of students in charter schools who public teacher unions claim have been "walked over" that are provided a much better education. Teachers in my own school have had to be "walked over" to force them to make changes that were good for their students.

    I'm not the one who said discouraging unions was "walking over" employees but if that's what we're going to call it let's be honest about it then.
     
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  4. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Discouraging unionization > walk over > abuse.

    Really?
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    No, that was not an option. The school district came out and said that use of personal days and sick days was prohibited on April 1 before the union delegates even took their vote on the strike. The district rightfully assumed that most teachers would use a sick or personal day to avoid losing pay, if they allowed it. If someone wanted to use a sick or personal day, they had to prove that it was an emergency with solid evidence.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    1) Given that research indicates the number of charter schools which outperform public schools is considerably smaller than the number of charter schools which underperform public schools, citing charter schools might not be the way to go here.

    2) The idea that any employee in any field is going to be more productive in an environment built around fear and/or oppression is absurd.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Rockguykev, don't be disingenuous: swansong1 wasn't reacting to your opinion about unions, she was reacting to your statement about employees. In no dialect of English with which I'm acquainted is being walked over beneficial to the walkee. And in no workplace situation with which I've ever been acquainted does being walked over make for a more compassionate worker - or, since this is clearly more where your heart lies, a more productive or effective one.

    Spend a little less time putting your colleagues in their place, and you might just find it a little less difficult for your good ideas to be heard.
     
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  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Until we have an objective definition of "walked over" and "abuse", it is difficult to discuss the topic. Unions will call whatever they are fighting for "abuse" or being "walked over" whether that rises to the level of what others consider "abuse" or being "walked over".
     
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  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I was using the language that rockguy was using. As far as walking over goes, I'd say it's one of those things that would be difficult to actually define. Specifically in the Chicago situation, given the furlough announcement with short notice and immediate effects on paychecks, I'd be tempted to consider that the district walking over it's teachers.
     
  10. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I admit I do like that we are part of an organization. With that said I don't trust unions after my experience with a 5 onth long strike and over 20 years in "unions".

    I will never forget standing in the union hall, union leadership reving up its members, shouting "we don't know what will be in the final contract, but what we do know is that "this item, "this item, and "this item", "WILL NOT BE IN THE CONTRACT." Cheering everyywhere by the sheep.

    5 months later the strike is resolved. You guessed it, those items were 100% in the contract, this is not the problem. The problem was the union leadership revving up the crowd again, chanting and yelling how successful we were, how we put them in their place, how it was a complete victory. Completely ignored what was said at the strike meeting.

    I have never looked at unions the same.
     
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  11. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    What is abuse: using intimidation (verbal or physical) to force a person to your will
    What is walking over: allowing yourself or another at your request to abuse another person

    I'm not necessarily referring to unions...but if the shoe fits...
     
  12. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree with this and see many(if not most) teachers use this model for classroom management.

    Not too mention, this is what it sounds like the union in Chicago was using to get teachers to show up for the strike. Vote for or against a strike, vote a certain way for a contract..etc.
     
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  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    By definition, any administrator that tells an employee that she must comply with the changes or it will be noted in the evaluation is being abusive? Or is it only abusive if you notify the employee of the consequences of failing to comply?

    Does this mean the power differentiation in workplaces between those managing and those being managed is always abusive when the employee doesn't want to do what the manager wants?
     
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  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Nobody got kicked out of the Chicago Teachers Union for missing all or part of yesterday. There was a threat to teachers who crossed the line to get paid. Frankly, that threat should stand. These are the same people who want protections from the union when they are being disciplined, but don't want to fight for those protections when the going gets tough.

    This day of action was not a surprise in any way. The union has encouraged members to have a strike fund since six months ago. Anybody paying attention at all whatsoever should have seen it coming, and should not be surprised if a longer action occurs in May or the fall.

    I agree that the day was controversial. School communities voted, debated, and took their votes to a larger delegate meeting. The overall vote was FOR the day. Regardless of how I feel about that, I was out there doing what I need to do. I benefit from their negotiations, I fight with them. Period.

    Chicago is a large complicated district and not for the faint of heart!
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    This strike wasn't about discipline issues and most likely they are asking for protections for issues that the union has not had a strike over.

    What do you really mean? Is it that they are happy to take the union services but don't want to stand with the union over any issue the union chooses to strike over? There is a big difference. Since they are forced to pay dues to the union even if they really don't want to be in the union, why shouldn't they use what they are FORCED to pay for?

    Your comment ignores the fact that the services have no choice in paying the union for protection and negotiation services whether they want to or not.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  16. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I'm in a slightly different situation because I am in a right to work state and union membership is completely optional. I would not take an unpaid day off. I have well over 60 sick days banked. In our district, taking an unpaid day off is a lapse in service. If you do not pay in for that day in retirement it can cause all kinds of issues when you go to retire. So not only do you not get paid for it, you have to actually pay for it. And it can mess with seniority issues. I simply would not join my union in this, unless I really believed in the reason for the strike. If they kicked me out, I'd join one of the three other unions in my area...

     
  17. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Anyone who has Rahl Emmanual in charge of their jobs should down tools immediatly. The man is a total tool!
     
  18. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    It was about a lot of things, including discipline. The new rating system is rating some teachers lower than they've historically been rated. This matters because layoffs are determined by rating and then seniority. The union is fighting for protections against crooked admin, right to appeal, etc. All of this was eliminated in the contract proposal alongside the elimination of lanes and steps, and 3 random furlough days.

    Never mind the fact that our classes are huge, buildings are falling apart, and we have to buy our own toilet paper.

    For every thing I disagree with the union on, there's ten instances where I'm grateful they're around to negotiate for us. You're either in or out. You don't get to cherry pick when you support the union.
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    You better believe I get to cherry pick. I absolutely will not support something that I think is wrong.
     
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  20. Peregrin5

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    I really appreciate our union and all that they do for us, and I've participated in rallies and demonstrations, but I'm not sure I would ever participate in a strike. I'm not sure I would have the guts to walk through the strike line though either, so I'm very glad to not have been put in that position. I remember my second year, there was a lot of strike talk, and my kids were asking me why the teachers were thinking about going on strike and whether or not I would.

    I just think it's very much a disservice to the students, who really are the ones to suffer in this, and they didn't do anything. But I also don't know of other alternatives that would get a stubborn district to listen... *sigh*
     
  21. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    :toofunny:
    The children already go to schools without supplies, technology, or proper seats. The janitorial services have been cut so bad that our rooms are cleaned once a week and are often overrun with roaches and mice. They spend hours in standardized testing that doesn't count for anything. When learning does occur, it's from teachers who are overworked and exhausted due to network chief mandates, abusive admin, or both. Teachers are constantly living in fear anticipating the next round of lay offs or furlough days. Illinois in general is being run into the ground by corrupt politicians.

    A strike isn't going to kill the children. Poverty, and the neglected education system that goes with it, will kill them.

    The LEAST we can do is speak up in their favor. And let THEM speak. We had several students and families marching right along with us, and this will happen again if we need a longer strike at the end of May. Chicago has been and will continue to be a union town.

    12670701_1241202339243061_5908387267411879633_n.jpg
     
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  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That sounds bad. In your case, I would definitely go on strike as the teachers are striking on behalf of the students. In my case, the reason for the strike was just increased pay and benefits. Nothing about the students. I think good teacher pay and benefits are important and I would definitely demonstrate or rally, just not important enough to hold student learning hostage.

    I guess then I will amend my answer that it depends on the reason for the strike.
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    They make great pawns, just like children of some parents who can't keep the kids out of their nasty divorce.
     
  24. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Let me be clear: Nobody WANTS a strike...and I most certainly do not side with the union on every single debate. But if pushed to that point, we will do what we need to do for our students. And I'm betting you would, too. Because you love your students. And your working conditions are their learning conditions. Hell hath no fury like a special ed teacher scorned! :D
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Please list all of the points for which the union is striking. I'd like to see how they are all about the students needs.

    I also disagree that NOBODY wants to strike. You may not want to, but there are those in every strike that do enjoy showing their power. I am in no way saying you are such person.
     
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  26. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Having taught 37 years in a small school district in small schools I can say NONE of the issues I have read here remotely relate to my experiences. When a school system gets as big as the one in Chicago you end up with a monolithic system with all kinds of people seeking power and money and eventually the children are lost in the shuffle, except for the TEACHERS that face them each day and advocate for them. I dont think human beings were designed to be squashed into crowded urban areas. Especially children. When it becomes US vs THEM in a school system too much rational thought flies out the window. But I understand the anger and passion. I see the Fla state Govt. continually try to ruin our public schools. They are facing a lawsuit right now about how they circumvent our state constitution on funding our schools.
     
  27. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    This is helpful.
     
  28. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    If anyone asks tell them you can't go a day without pay for financial reasons.
     
  29. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Is it fair to say that the union/teachers were striking because of the differences in suspension rates between certain groups of students?
     
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  30. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I'm sorry, but I didn't find that helpful in knowing the exact reasons that the teacher's are striking. I understand the city has terrible issues and the school system is deplorable, but I want to see the list of items the Union is striking about. What do they want to win in negotiations and what will they settle with? I'm sure few if any of them are the issues you linked.
     
  31. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Here are the main issues that have led to job action in Ontario schools (elementary and secondary) over the past several years:

    -increasing class sizes
    -cuts to support for Special Ed students (educational assistants, Special Ed teachers, available supports)
    -government calls to dictate our preparation/planning time (calls into question our professionalism)
    -cuts to benefits
    -cuts to education spending which directly impact students through less money for classroom and school resources
    -proposed cuts to preparation time and increases in supervision duty

    All of these directly impact students.
     
  32. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    So, none of this has anything to do with students?

    "Students need lower class sizes, particularly in the early grades. Current CPS class size guidelines, which are some of the highest in the state, set limits at 28 students for most classes, 31 students in 4th through 8th grade, and higher in some non-core high school subjects. Routinely, many classes have more students because the limits are violated."

    "Students need a well-rounded, full curriculum. As part of the fight for a “better day”, not just the mayoral-imposed “longer day”, CTU won art, music and PE teachers for all schools. However, with Student Based Budgeting (SBB), many of those positions have disappeared."

    "Mayor Emanuel plans to expand pre-K by creating profit opportunities for investors and banks. Further, his vision for pre-K falls far short of universal coverage, and subjects pre-K classes to the same accountability systems that have led to decreased emphasis on the arts and play-based learning in Kindergarten and increased reliance on standardized testing and developmentally inappropriate practices."

    "Currently, 52% of schools do not have professionally-staffed libraries, 75% of elementary school counselors are assigned to non-counseling, case management duties, and of 322 CPS nurses, only six are assigned to one school full time."

    "In a measure of funding distribution within states, relative to student poverty, Illinois ranks in the bottom five. (Baker, Sciarra, Farrie, 2014). The state’s funding inequity is related to the fact that Illinois ranks 50th out of 50 states in the percentage of education expenses it funds (Martire, 2013)."

    On paper, it's an unfair labor practice strike due to the furloughs and sudden elimination of lanes and steps. Because, legally we need a financial reason to strike. But NOBODY is out there because of just that. There's a much bigger picture to look at concerning the future of our city and state.
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It was not in a format that was easy to discern what was complaints and what was actionable items that can be included in contracts.

    How will striking allow the union to get these things into practice?
    So, why weren't teachers striking about all of the horrendous things going on before furloughs and sudden elimination of lanes and steps if these other issues are really what the strike is about? The reality is, the strike is over money. The other issues are just things that union members use to garner support for the strike.
     
  34. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    "Money" is at the reason behind most job action, but that doesn't mean that teachers are protesting because they want more money in their pockets. Smaller class sizes = more teachers = more money. More resources = more money. More support for struggling students = more money.
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sure money and resources are behind most decisions, but why didn't the teachers strike before their pocketbooks were hit if the other issues for the students are so important? It tells the public that those other issues aren't really the important ones but the pocketbook issues are worth striking for.
     
  36. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I'm pretty sure I read the answer in the post... here it is again:

    "On paper, it's an unfair labor practice strike due to the furloughs and sudden elimination of lanes and steps. Because, legally we need a financial reason to strike. "
     
  37. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    For me, and the vast majority of the teachers I know, salary is the lowest priority, but it is the one that gets the most press. The 1% raise we got in our last negotiations didn't come close to cover COL increases, much less make up for the cut we had imposed on us a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, all the public seems to see is that tiny increase, not the issues we were very vocal about fighting for.
    In a strike vote, I would vote "no" if the only issues were salary and benefits. I vote "yes" when I'm fighting for better learning conditions for my students.

    An interesting (?) aside--I am not at all political, but have learned that if the teachers don't stand up for the students needs, no one higher up the ladder is going to.
     
  38. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Herein lies the biggest issue with this strike: the miscommunication. No one can really even tell you what this strike is about. Ask 10 union members, and you'll get 10 different answers.

    Here's my version:

    It's not about the furlough days. Sure, that really angered people, but it's legal. The president of the union already publicly stated so. The union cannot and did not strike over furlough days.

    The legal justification for the strike was the elimination of steps and lanes. The union did not give employees an increase after the last contract expired.... in June 2015. All union members have been working without an increase in steps since then. It is most definitely not sudden. Lanes are still given if a teacher can show that they have earned credit hours towards the next lane. Even though this has been the case since June, the union is only bringing it up now as a way to legally justify this strike, by calling the elimination of steps an "unfair labor practice".

    The word on the street (no one can be sure...) is that this strike was really about bringing awareness to lack of funding for public education - both K-12 and higher ed.
     
  39. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oh, and I should add...

    The motivation for striking right now, April 1, was because the CEO of the district threatened to stop paying the 7% pension pickup that is considered part of a teacher's salary and benefits package on... you guessed it... April 1.

    It wasn't just about raising awareness.
     
  40. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    That was the answer as to the reason, yes, but the timing coincided with teachers' pocketbooks being hit. If there was no threat to take away the 7% pension pick up, this strike never would have happened. Not now, in April, anyway.
     

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