SO I got a shock Sunday- the Chicago Teacher's Union went out on strike. Forget the issues. Forget the fact it is the first strike in 25 years. Forget the terms or tactics.
But remember that 23 Million people are unemployed and don't have work at the very time these teachers CHOOSE not to work, and strike instead. WOW- was I stunned... and for great (not just good) reason.
Remember- it's 2012 and a national election year... A year where Unions will play a critical role for both sides in being the Hero or the Villain. That this wasn't resolved early leads me to believe some people took things for granted.
Do you think the White House called the Mayor of Chicago and gave him some heat? Did they call the Union directly and point them to the table? Or did they stay out of it and let the process evolve naturally?
Do you think the Democratic National Committee (who are trying to rally Pres. Obama's re-election bid) are lighting up the Chicago mayors phones and giving him heat that this happened and telling him to end it NOW?
In politics, we see things happen for theatre... could this be just that? Could this be a trap to bait the Republican's into a response? Could this be a tactic to excite the Union base, and those that sympathize with them?
Cutting to the chase- how much money will it take to actually be able to give teachers performance evaluations that effect their standing? Or is it priceless, and therefore beyond reach at the bargaining table?
Was it "right and proper" that the Romney/Ryan team jumped in and gave 'support" for the Mayors efforts? Or was that just a dangerous political ploy? Will that help them in the polls, burn them in the end, or be a rallying point for the non-union people to mobilize behind?
And mostly, what is the End-Game? What is FAIR for a teacher? But that isn't the real question to ask here.
What is it going to take to make the UNION happy? THAT is the key piece of the puzzle. It is critical to remember that the person running this particular union is one of the strongest set of hands in the nation in running a Union. THAT makes all the difference, and might change the outcome from the Unions side- as they will not bend.
The entire situation wreaks of ALL that is wrong in our 2012 America. The Unions control the teachers. The teachers are talked about as "selfish" when that is far from true. The kids pay the price in the end- either way. Parents have to pay the taxes to make it all happen, but get stuck with last minute child care while this strike plays out. City management wants to make things better, but that means change- and change is hard for the creatures of habit that we are.
AND ALL OF THIS HAPPENS IN A TOWN WHERE THE PRESIDENT CALLS HOME, AND IN A CITY WHERE HIS CHIEF OF STAFF IS NOW MAYOR, IN A YEAR WHERE THEY NEED THE UNION VOTE TO MAKE THIS RE-ELECTION BID HAPPEN.. AND ONLY 57 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY...
You just can't make this up. Truth is DEFINITELY stranger than fiction in this case.