The Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) won Friday's election to lead the Chicago Teachers Union. The CTU's new President Karen Lewis garnered 60 percent of the vote against an incumbent whose caucus has controlled the third largest Teachers (AFT) local in the country for 37 of the last 40 years.
Soon after declaring the first week of May "National Charter School Week," President Obama continued the push to open up public school districts—and their coffers—to non-union, privately run charter schools. Applications are due June 1 for the second round of his Race to the Top fund, which will reward states that jump on the charter bandwagon.
Thirty thousand Chicago teachers and para-professionals will vote for new union leadership May 21. Four slates are challenging the Chicago Teachers Union incumbents, who have come under fire for a lack of transparency and an unwillingness to mobilize against the city’s school privatization plan. Seventy schools have closed in eight years, and the union has lost 6,000 members, while dozens of non-union charter schools crop up in their place.
Twelve hundred troublemakers found themselves inside the Dearborn Hyatt for Labor Notes 2010 last weekend. So they took the opportunity to march on the boss. First they heard from Aracelly Arango, one of 100 Boston hotel workers fired from three non-union Hyatt hotels last summer.
A long caravan of cars pulled out of the Labor Notes Conference last Friday to join restaurant workers down the street in front of Andiamo, a fine dining chain in Metro Detroit. The raucous march and street theatrics were the latest action in a months-long campaign organized by Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan over Andiamo's wage theft violations, racial and sexual discrimination, and retaliatory firings.
After nearly three years without a contract, Washington Teachers Union President George Parker and DC Schools Chief Michelle Rhee announced a tentative agreement this week. Flanked by Mayor Adrian Fenty and AFT President Randi Weingarten, the two lined up behind a privately-funded agreement that would institute merit pay while continuing to whittle away at teacher job security.
After six months of rocky contract talks, hotel workers have launched a boycott of the Westin hotel in downtown Providence to protest the company’s deep unilateral wage and benefit cuts, as well as work speedups. The rain-or-shine pickets, on for two weeks now, got going right as the hotel hosted an influx of guests for the NCAA basketball tournament in late March—a big tourist boon for the city.
Charter school companies in Los Angeles were licking their chops last summer when the school board gave outside managers a chance to operate 36 schools next year. After yesterday’s packed board meeting where officials voted to award 29 of those schools to teacher-led groups supported by United Teachers Los Angeles, the charters are licking their wounds.
It’s apparent now more than ever why restaurant workers are urgently organizing. While members of the Restaurant Opportunities Center roll on with workplace justice campaigns in several cities, affiliates of the national worker center released reports this week from Chicago, New Orleans, Portland, Maine, and Detroit highlighting the low lights of one the largest and fastest-growing private sector employers in the country.
An outspoken critic of D.C. schools Superintendent Michelle Rhee has entered the race to lead the Washington Teachers Union (WTU). Nathan Saunders, the union’s current vice-president, says the May election is a chance for teachers to take a different direction in contract talks with Rhee, which have dragged on for three years.