Monday, May 11, 2009

Chicago's Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators

I'm so excited for this weekend! If I'm not too burned out by a week of work, I'm going to Chicago to attend a fundraiser by the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE)! This group of unionists really gives me hope. It is one of a very few teacher organizations consistently fighting the misguided policies of NCLB and doing so among rank-and-file members and the community.

Here is tone of their work as presented at a recent Labor Notes workshop in Chicago, taken from CORE's website:

Ms. Lewis [from Caucus of Rank and File Educators] gave an overview of the shape of education in Chicago and how it inspired a small group of Chicago Teachers Union activists to work together to change the Union from within. She described how CORE has become a group of educators who are doing the things the Union leadership should be doing, but in their free time for no additional pay. CORE has been collecting data and doing research on such items as: Huberman’s attack on pensions, CPS payroll, and proper staffing of schools.

She then described our January 10th meeting where CORE drew 500 people in a blizzard to talk about school closings. This event led to the formation of the GEM coalition that became a force of positive change in Chicago school reform. The actions of the groups around school closings saved six schools from being closed, phased-out, consolidated, or turned-around over the 2009-2010 school year.

After Ms. Lewis’ presentation, Joe Sexauer described how his “New Leadership Slate” within Teamsters Local 743 was similar to CORE in how they would pick fights that they felt the Union should be engaging in every year. He described a corrupt local leadership that would stop at nothing to win elections and retain power. The local leadership was not fighting for members, but working to maintain the status quo and collect big paychecks.

No comments: