By Stephanie Banchero
Chicago public school teachers were set to go on strike Monday, canceling classes in the nation’s third largest school system, after marathon contract talks with city officials ended Sunday night without a deal.
The teachers’ strike is the first in Chicago in a quarter century and the first in a big U.S. urban district since one in Detroit in 2006. It follows months of acrimony between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The city has canceled classes for some 350,000 students, though about 144 of its 681 schools were scheduled to open Monday, staffed by district workers, to provide breakfast, lunch and basic activities.
More at the link, including the details of the dispute. But your Editor notes that Chicago is a wholly Democratic city, run by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, formerly a congressman and then President Obama’s Chief of Staff, in a state controlled by the Democrats, with a Democratic Governor, Pat Quinn, who has done things the liberal way, raising taxes rather than cutting spending,1 and the state from which our Democratic President was a state Senator.
The two sides have been fighting over a new contract for months, over salaries, health care benefits and job security. The JOURNAL reported that they are not far apart on wages at the moment, but were apparently further apart on health care benefits and a new teacher evaluation system.
One important paragraph from the story:
The union didn’t publicly state its recent salary demands but had initially asked for 19% in the first year. The average Chicago teacher salary is about $70,000.
Seventy thousand dollars? Seventy thousand dollars? As in $70,000 a year, for a job where they get 2½ months off during the summer? One of us wonders what the guy cutting meat in the back of a supermarket or the woman sweating her tail off working in a laundry all day long think about having to dig a little deeper to pay for teachers working 9½ months out of the year $70,000 . . . and then have to see their kids at home, because the teachers say that seventy grand isn’t enough? Your Editor wonders about the Korean guy, running the small corner grocery he set up,2 working fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, and hoping that he doesn’t get robbed and shot before the night is out, thinks about having to pay higher taxes to give more money to teachers already making $70,000 a year for seven hours a day, 180 days a year.
Perhaps those people wish that they had elected someone like Scott Walker, but hey, they elected Pat Quinn to be their Governor, and they voted for the Democrats to run their cities and state, so it’s on them.