Teacher’s Strike with Stacy Davis Gates; Randi Weingarten | City Works


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>>HI. I’M LAURA FLANDERS
AND THIS IS CITY WORKS, THE SHOW ABOUT WORK AND
WORKING PEOPLE. CITY WORKS IS A CO-PRODUCTION OF THE
SCHOOL OF LABOR AND URBAN STUDIES AT THE CITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AND CUNY TV. TEACHERS IN
STATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE BEEN TAKING TO THE
STREETS AND MAKING NEWS. THE WAVE OF TEACHER LED
STRIKES THIS PAST YEAR AND WHAT THEY WON ARE THE
FOCUS OF TODAY’S PROGRAM. COMING UP AN INTERVIEW
WITH STACY DAVIS GATES, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE
CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION ABOUT THAT UNION’S
HISTORIC STRIKE IN OCTOBER OF 2019. FIRST, EXCERPTS
OF A TALK GIVEN BY AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
TEACHERS PRESIDENT RANDI WEINGARTEN AT THE CUNY
SCHOOL OF LABOR AND URBAN STUDIES. THE TOPIC: GOING
BIG. EXPANDING LABOR RIGHTS IN THE 21ST
CENTURY. HERE’S RANDI. >>>WHAT HAPPENED IN WEST
VIRGINIA? WHY DID THIS, WHAT WAS THE SPARK? WHAT
WAS THE KIND OF TIPPING POINT? AND I THINK WHAT
HAS HAPPENED IS A COUPLE OF THINGS. FIRST, HOW LOW
CAN YOU GO UNTIL PEOPLE DECIDE ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?
AND WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, I WOULD ACTUALLY ARGUE AFTER
THE TRUMP VICTORY AND WITH THE ADVENT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
AND FACEBOOK, SO PEOPLE COULD ACTUALLY COMMUNICATE
MORE, AND WITH WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE WOMEN’S
MARCHES, REMEMBER MY UNION IS DISPROPORTIONATELY
FEMALE THAT ONCE PEOPLE STARTED BUILDING
COMMUNITY, WHICH IS WHAT FACEBOOK DID FOR
PEOPLE IN WEST VIRGINIA. THEY STARTED TALKING TO
EACH OTHER AND SAYING, ON A SNOW DAY, WHAT THE HELL?
LIKE WHY IS IT THAT GOVERNOR JUSTICE IS
OFFERING US A 1% RAISE AND OUR HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS
JUST WENT UP, YOU KNOW, 5%, 10%? HOW IS IT THAT
WE’RE MAKING LESS MONEY TODAY THAN WE DID 10 YEARS
AGO? HOW IS IT THAT WE’RE ON THIS CHARLIE CHAPLIN
MODERN DAYS RUNNING, RUNNING, RUNNING, AND IT’S
WORSE, NOT BETTER? AND IN SOME WAYS, SINCE WEST
VIRGINIA TOTALLY VOTED FOR TRUMP, THEY’RE LIKE, OH,
AND THIS WASN’T THE HOPEY CHANGEY THING EITHER. SO
SOMETHING HAPPENED THAT THERE WAS PEOPLE TALKING
TO EACH OTHER, AND THE THING THAT WE DID, WHICH
DIDN’T GET A LOT OF PLAY INITIALLY WAS THIS:
INTERNALLY WITHIN OUR UNION, I’M SURE THIS
HAPPENED WITHIN NEA, I GOT THE WELL, YOU KNOW, YOU
CAN’T GO ON STRIKE IN WEST VIRGINIA. WELL, YOU KNOW,
YOU CAN’T DO THIS IN WEST VIRGINIA. I BASICALLY
SAID, AND LOOK, YOU KNOW, I’M A LAWYER SO I COULD
OUT LAWYER THE LAWYERS, I BASICALLY SAID, I DON’T
WANT TO SEE THE LEGAL BRIEF. GOOD, FINE. THANK
YOU FOR TELLING ME ALL OF THE DIFFERENT REASONS
THAT, YOU KNOW, ALL OF THE DIFFERENT FEARS YOU HAVE.
YOU’VE NOW DONE YOUR JOB. I’M GOING TO, AND I CALLED
OUR WEST VIRGINIA FOLKS AND I SAID, THE NATIONAL
WILL SUPPORT YOU IN ANYTHING YOU DO AND WE
WILL BE SIDE BY SIDE WITH YOU IN ANYTHING WE DO. WE
ARE YOUR BACKSTOP. WE HAVE YOUR BACK. WE’RE BUILDING
COMMUNITY. AND DO NOT TAKE THE SAFE WAY OUT HERE. MY
JUDGMENT. DO NOT TAKE THE SAFE WAY OUT. NOW FRANKLY,
IN WEST VIRGINIA, I DON’T THINK THEY COULD HAVE EVEN
IF THEY WANTED TO, BUT THE FACT IS THAT WE CREATED AN
INFRASTRUCTURE, A BACK OFFICE IN TERMS OF THE
UNION TO TRY AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAD THE SUPPORT
THAT THEY NEEDED TO WAGE THE BATTLE THEY NEEDED TO
WAGE. SO WHAT WAS THE TRIGGER? I THINK THEY
DECIDED AFTER THE WOMEN’S MARCHES AND AFTER DESPAIR
WAS SO GREAT AND FRUSTRATION WAS SO GREAT,
ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH. DESPAIR OUGHT NOT BE THE STRATEGY.
ORGANIZING OUGHT TO BE THE STRATEGY. NOT AGONIZING.
[APPLAUSE] HOWEVER, MANY OF US ARE JEWISH AND WE
AGONIZE A LOT ANYWAY, REGARDLESS. BUT – >>>ORGANIZE DON’T
AGONIZE. >>>YES. ORGANIZE DON’T
AGONIZE. BUT I TELL YOU THAT BECAUSE I THINK THAT
THE PEOPLE WHO THINK, OH, IT WAS JUST, OH, IT WAS A
TWITTER MOMENT OR A FACEBOOK MOMENT. NO,
THAT REALLY DID HELP THE MOBILIZING. THAT WAS
REALLY IMPORTANT. BUT IF YOU DON’T ORGANIZE AND
HAVE INFRASTRUCTURE ON TOP OF THAT TO MAKE IT
SUCCESSFUL, IT AIN’T GOING TO WORK. AND THAT IS ALSO,
YOU KNOW, EXHIBIT A OF WHAT PSC DID IN THE
ABSENCE OF A STRIKE. AND THAT’S ALSO EXHIBIT A
OF WHAT LA DID AND WHAT RECENTLY CHICAGO DID. SO
HOW DO YOU CREATE A POWER? I JUST FELT LIKE I HAD TO
TELL THAT STORY FIRST. HOW DO YOU CREATE IT? HOW DID
WE CREATE IT YEARS AGO? COMMUNITY, I’M SORRY,
DENSITY. DENSITY WAS HOW WE CREATED POWER. YOU ALL
KNOW THAT CHART. IT’S, WE WERE A THIRD OF THE
POPULATION. AND AS, WHEN UNIONS WERE A THIRD OF
THE POPULATION, YOU KNOW, WE HAD, YOU KNOW, GROWTH,
THE HIGHEST MIDDLE-CLASS. WE’VE SEEN THAT CHART.
STEVE HAS TALKED ABOUT THAT CHART. AND AS THAT
HAS DIMINISHED, WE HAVE HAD LESS BARGAINING POWER
BECAUSE THERE ARE LESS PEOPLE, AND THEN THERE’S
LESS BARGAINING OR THERE’S LESS POLITICAL POWER
BECAUSE THERE’S LESS MEMBERS IN UNIONS. SO THE
ISSUE OF HAVING PEOPLE, THAT’S A WAY OF HAVING
POWER. BUT HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING
ABOUT THAT? SO IN OUR UNION, WE HAVE A LITTLE
PHRASE, COMMUNITY IS THE NEW DENSITY. AND NOT IN A
WAY THAT SAYS, OH. LET’S PUT A PRESS RELEASE OUT SO
WE CAN GET COMMUNITY SUPPORT. THAT’S BULLS—.
IF THAT’S HOW YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT IT, IT
AIN’T GONNA WORK. IT HAS TO BE REALLY, REALLY,
REALLY PART OF YOUR DNA AS A UNION IN 2019 THAT YOU
ARE ABOUT COMMUNITY ASPIRATIONS. YOU HAVE TO
BE. NOW FRANKLY, IT MAY BE EASIER. I WOULD ACTUALLY
ARGUE THAT THAT’S WHAT YOU SAW IN THE STOP AND SHOP
STRIKE, AND THAT’S WHAT YOU SAW IN TERMS OF THE
MARRIOTT STRIKE. WHAT WAS THE LINE? AND IT’S NOT
JUST WHAT WAS THE HASHTAG, WHAT WAS THE LINE THAT
UNITE HERE USED IN THE MARRIOTT STRIKE? ONE JOB
SHOULD BE ENOUGH. ONE JOB SHOULD BE ENOUGH. STOP AND
SHOP. THESE ARE GROCERY STORE WORKERS IN NORTH
EASTERN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. PEOPLE IN
MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, AND RHODE
ISLAND WOULD NOT WALK INTO THAT STOP AND SHOP, THOSE
STOP AND SHOP STORES. THEY COMPLETELY LOST
THEIR EASTER AND PASSOVER BUSINESS BECAUSE OF THE
LOYALTY BETWEEN THE PUBLIC THAT USE THOSE STORES
AND THE GROCERY WORKERS. SO WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF ALSO POWER?
SO POWER IS NUMBERS, BUT POWER IS ALSO NARRATIVE.
IT’S NOT JUST ORGANIZING. ORGANIZING IS ABSOLUTELY
VITAL. INFRASTRUCTURE IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL. RANK AND
FILE SUPPORT IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL. BUT IF YOU DON’T
TELL A STORY THAT PEOPLE FEEL AND THEY FEEL THAT
THEY ARE IN THERE. IT AIN’T GOING TO WORK.
SO MY POINT IS, WHAT’S OUR NARRATIVE? ARE WE GOING
TO BE SHAPED BY THEIR NARRATIVE? WE WORKED FOR
A LONG TIME. YOU KNOW, THE TEACHER’S UNION. ALL WE
DO IS PROTECT PEOPLE WHO OUGHT NOT BE TEACHING.
THAT’S BEING SHAPED BY THEIR NARRATIVE. WE GOTTA
BE SHAPED BY OUR NARRATIVE. WHAT WAS THE
NARRATIVE IN CHICAGO? YOU ALL KNOW IT. AND YES,
YOU USE MEDIA TO THEN ADVERTISE IT. WE WERE ON.
WHAT DID THE NATIONAL UNION DO? WE WORKED WITH
ALL OF THEM. WE SPENT THE MONEY, YOU KNOW, THOUSANDS
OF IT. THOUSANDS OF IT. THAT’S WHAT OUR GO TO. WE
ADVERTISED ON BLACK RADIO. WE ADVERTISED ON
PROGRESSIVE RADIO. WE DID HUGE DIGITAL ADVERTISING
IN THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF THE STRIKE. THAT WAS PART
OF FRAMING, BECAUSE WHAT LORI LIGHTFOOT DID WAS SHE
SAID SHE MADE A BET, WHICH IS IN SOME WAYS THE BET
THAT A LOT OF PROGRESSIVE BOSSES MAKE, WHICH IS,
OKAY. WE’LL DO MONEY. WE’LL DO A RAISE. TEACHERS
NEED A RAISE, BUT YOU KNOW, ALL THOSE
CONDITIONAL THINGS, THOSE ARE MANAGERIAL
PREROGATIVES. WE’RE NOT GOING TO TOUCH THAT. WE
WANT TO HAVE THE CONTROL OF THE SHOP. AND WE’RE
LIKE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? 45% OF THE KIDS IN AMERICA
ARE TRAUMA — HAVE TRAUMA. WE NEED TO HAVE NURSES,
GUIDANCE COUNSELORS, AND SOCIAL WORKERS, AND NO,
MADAM MAYOR, IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH THAT YOU PUT IT IN
YOUR BUDGET. WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY HAVE IT IN EVERY
SCHOOL. IT CAN’T WAIT TEN MORE YEARS. [APPLAUSE] SO
THAT STRIKE WAS ABOUT THAT. IT WAS ABOUT OTHER
THINGS AS WELL, BUT IT WAS ABOUT THAT. AND IF YOU’RE
NOT ABLE TO COMMUNICATE THAT TO THE PUBLIC, AND IF
YOUR MEMBERS DON’T BELIEVE THAT IN A REAL WAY, THAT’S
WHAT HAPPENED. IF YOU WALKED IN CHICAGO ANYTIME,
IT WAS NOT RED FOR ED, IT WAS KEEP YOUR PROMISES,
PUT IT IN WRITING. SO POWER, COMMUNITY IS OUR
NEW DENSITY. WINNING THE NARRATIVE, CREATING A
DIFFERENT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT SO THAT PEOPLE
IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD SEE THAT IF THERE’S UNIONS
THAT’S GOING TO MAKE IT BETTER FOR EVERYONE. IN
LORDSTOWN PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD THAT. THE
LORDSTOWN PLANT WHEN IT WAS OPEN, THIS IS ONE OF
MY LOCALS, SANDYHOOK, ONE OF OUR LOCALS. PEOPLE IN
COMMUNITY SAID, YOU KNOW WHEN GM WORKERS GOT A
RAISE AT THE LORDSTOWN PLANT, IT MEANT THAT ON
MAIN STREET THERE WAS A WHOLE LOT MORE SPENDING.
AND SO THE LAST THING WE’RE DOING IS WE’RE
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW DO WE BRING ALL THAT
TOGETHER. VALUES TO ACTIONS. BUILDING
COMMUNITY IN A REAL WAY WITHIN OUR UNION AND
OUTSIDE OUR UNION. AND NARRATIVE TO ORGANIZING.
AND YOU CAN SEE THE VARIOUS DIFFERENT THINGS
WE DO. FUNDING OUR FUTURE. THE FREEDOM TO TEACH. THE
FREEDOM TO LIVE. ON ONE JOBS WAGES, WITH REAL
RETIREMENT SECURITY. WITH HEALTHCARE SO WE’RE NOT
ONE ILLNESS AWAY FROM BANKRUPTCY. WITHOUT
CRUSHING STUDENT DEBT. THESE ARE COMMUNITY ISSUES
NOT JUST OUR OWN MEMBERS’ ISSUES. AND THE RIGHT TO
HAVE ON OUR STREETS, CLIMATE AND OUR
ENVIRONMENT, AND OUR SCHOOLS, AND OUR
HOSPITALS, A WELCOMING AND SAFE ENVIRONMENT. SO IT
COMES DOWN TO POWER. THE RIGHT WING TRIED TO KILL
THE POWER. THEY TRIED TO PRIORITIZE PUBLIC
EDUCATION, DEFUND HIGHER EDUCATION. FORTY-ONE
STATES SPEND LESS IN HIGHER EDUCATION TODAY THAN
THEY DID TEN YEARS AGO. FORTY-ONE STATES. YOU
WONDER WHY ADJUNCT PAY IS SO FOR S—? YOU WONDER WHY
STUDENT LOANS ARE SO HIGH? FORTY-ONE STATES. SO
THEY’VE TRIED TO PRIVATIZE WHEN AUSTERITY CREATED ALL
THESE SITUATIONS. DE-STABILIZE. GET RID OF
THE VOTE FOR THE NEW, YOU KNOW, EMERGING ELECTORATE
IN THE UNITED STATES. EVEN WHEN YOU WIN THE VOTE
AGAIN, LIKE FOR FELONS OR FORMER FELONS IN FLORIDA
WHERE I WAS YESTERDAY. THEN THEY’RE TRYING TO DO
POLL TAXES ON THAT. AND THEY TRY TO GET RID OF
UNION POWER. WE CAN RECREATE IT. WHAT THE
STRIKES OF THE LAST TWO, THREE YEARS HAVE SHOWN IS
THAT WE CAN RECREATE IT BUT WE GOT TO GET TO SCALE
AND WE GOT TO SUSTAIN AND THAT MEANS WINNING
ELECTIONS TO ENABLE HAVING DIFFERENT KINDS OF LAWS
SO WE CAN DO OUR WORK. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
[APPLAUSE]>>>THIS PAST OCTOBER TEACHERS IN CHICAGO, THE
NATION’S THIRD LARGEST SCHOOL DISTRICT WITH MORE
THAN 300,000 CHILDREN, WENT ON STRIKE HOLDING
MARCHES AND RALLIES ACROSS THE CITY. ELEVEN DAYS
LATER, THE TEACHER’S UNION AND THE CITY REACHED A
LABOR CONTRACT DEAL THAT INCLUDED PAY RAISES OVER
FIVE YEARS. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE CHICAGO TEACHERS
UNION STACY DAVIS GATES WAS A KEY PLAYER FOR THE
UNION BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE STRIKE, AND
SHE JOINS US NOW VIA SKYPE FROM CHICAGO. SO STACY,
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. FIRST OFF, HOW
HAPPY ARE YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT WALKING THE PICKET
LINES RIGHT NOW IN THE CHICAGO WINTER? WE’RE TALKING
AT THE END OF JANUARY.>>>WELL LOOK, I’M MORE
HAPPY THAT WE SETTLED A CONTRACT THAT PROVIDES OUR
SCHOOL COMMUNITIES WITH MORE OF WHAT THEY DESERVE
VERSUS WHAT HAS HAPPENED OVER TIME. SO YOU KNOW,
I’M PLEASED FOR THE SACRIFICE OUR MEMBERS
MADE. ELEVEN DAYS ON A PICKET LINE IS NOT AN EASY
THING. YOU KNOW, THE CITY OF CHICAGO, OUR PARENTS
WERE REALLY SUPPORTIVE IN THIS FIGHT. THEY SAW THE
FIGHT AS ONE TO BRING TRUE JUSTICE AND EQUITY TO THEIR
SCHOOL COMMUNITIES AS WELL.>>>NOW YOU HAVE SAID THAT
THIS ISN’T JUST ABOUT ANY INDIVIDUAL ASPECT OF THE
NEGOTIATIONS. IT WAS REALLY ABOUT THE QUESTION
OF RACIAL JUSTICE AND EDUCATION JUSTICE FOR THE
STUDENTS AND FOR THE TEACHERS. WHAT DOES THAT
MEAN TO YOU? WHAT DOES EDUCATION AND RACIAL
JUSTICE MEAN TO YOU? >>>WELL IN AMERICA, WHEN
A THING THAT SHOULD BE UNIVERSALLY APPLIED, IT’S
NOT UNIVERSALLY APPLIED, IT IS TYPICALLY ROOTED IN
WHITE SUPREMACY AND RACISM, RIGHT? AND SO TO
DIVORCE THE FACT THAT BLACK SCHOOLS ON THE SOUTH
SIDE OF CHICAGO DON’T HAVE NURSES AND SOCIAL WORKERS
AWAY FROM RACIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY WOULD HAVE BEEN
FOOLISH OF US, YOU KNOW, IN THIS FIGHT. THE
CLARIFYING TIME OF A STRIKE IS TO MAKE SURE
THAT YOU USE THE PLATFORM AND THE MEGAPHONE TO TRY
AND EXACT THE TYPE OF CHANGE THAT’S NECESSARY
FOR STRUCTURAL REVOLUTION. AND THAT’S WHAT WE DID.
IT IS EASY TO NOT SHINE A LIGHT ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF
CHICAGO WHEN ALL YOU HEAR ABOUT IT IN MAINSTREAM
MEDIA IS THAT IT’S VIOLENT, THAT IT’S
IMPOVERISHED, THAT IT DOESN’T HAVE A THING. WHAT
WE WERE ABLE TO DO IS USE OUR MEGAPHONE TO HUMANIZE
THE SPACE. THESE ARE SPACES IN WHICH OUR
MEMBERS INHABIT ON A DAILY BASIS WITH ACTUAL CHILDREN
WHO NEED THINGS, FAMILIES WHO DEPEND ON THOSE
INSTITUTIONS. AND SO WE TOOK OUR TIME TO MAKE SURE
THAT WE COULD TELL THE STORY AS AUTHENTICALLY AS
WE EXPERIENCED THE STORY AND THAT WE COULD ALSO
LIFT UP THE VOICES OF OUR ALLIES AND OUR PARENTS WHO ARE IN
THOSE SPACES ALL THE TIME.>>>SO VERY QUICKLY, YOUR
DEMANDS AND WHAT YOU WON, BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T WIN
EVERYTHING, BUT YOU WANT A LOT.>>>WELL, WE WOULDN’T WIN
EVERYTHING. YOU KNOW, THAT IS THE NATURE OF
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. I’M STILL WAITING ON THE
REVOLUTION, BUT THAT IS THE NATURE OF COLLECTIVE
BARGAINING. SO WHAT WE, YOU KNOW, LISTEN, WE
WANTED TO SHIFT THE PARADIGM IN CHICAGO. WE
HAD AN OPPORTUNITY POLITICALLY WITH THE NEW
MAYOR WHO SAID THAT SHE BELIEVED WHAT WE BELIEVED
WHEN SHE WAS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. SO WE
TOOK HER UP ON THAT OFFER. AND WHAT WE SAID IS THAT WE
NEEDED A NURSE IN EVERY SCHOOL IN CHICAGO. AND WE
GOT THAT. WE SAID THAT WE NEEDED A SOCIAL WORKER IN
EVERY SCHOOL IN CHICAGO. WE GOT THAT. WE SAID THAT
WE NEEDED TO LOWER CLASS SIZE TO MAKE INSTRUCTION
MORE MANAGEABLE TO MAKE THE FOCUS ON TEACHING AND
LEARNING IN A SPACE WHERE KIDS COULD ACTUALLY GET
SOMETHING FROM IT. AND WE GOT THOSE THINGS TOO. WE
SAID THAT WE WANTED TO BEGIN TO HAVE A LARGER,
BROADER DISCUSSION ABOUT THE LACK OF AFFORDABILITY
IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO, NOT JUST FOR THE MEMBERS
WHO WORK IN THE SCHOOL BUILDINGS, BUT FOR THE
FAMILIES THAT INHABIT OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITIES AS
WELL. AND WE STARTED THAT DISCUSSION AND WE WERE
ABLE TO TRANSFORM THE WAY IN WHICH WE OFFER SERVICES
TO STUDENTS WHO ARE LIVING IN TEMPORARY LIVING
SITUATIONS, WHICH IS ALSO KNOWN AS STUDENTS WHO ARE
TAGGED AS HOMELESS. AND SO WHAT WE DO NOW IS THAT WE
HAVE EXTRA SUPPORTS. ACTUAL PERSONNEL AND
SUPPORTS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE EXPERIENCING THE
TRAUMA OF HOMELESSNESS. >>>NOW, THIS GOES WAY
BEYOND WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING AROUND IN
THE LAST WELL, DECADE OR SO. WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU
HAVE GONE FROM BEING ON THE DEFENSIVE TRYING TO
STOP CLOSURES OR ATTACKS ON COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
TO THE OFFENSIVE TOWARDS THAT REVOLUTION THAT YOU
TALKED ABOUT? >>>WELL, I THINK WE’RE
GOING TO HAVE TO CONTINUE TO DO BOTH. LIKE THE
BILLIONAIRES WHO’S BEEN TRYING TO KILL US FOR THE
LAST COUPLE OF DECADES ARE STILL BILLIONAIRES AND
THEIR AIM, YOU KNOW, HAS NOT DULLED ANY. SO WE’RE
GOING TO HAVE TO BOTH PLAY OFFENSE AND DEFENSE. I
THINK WHAT YOU SAW IN THIS PAST LABOR FIGHT WAS
OFFENSE. AND I THINK THAT PLAYING DEFENSE IN WHICH
WE IDENTIFY THOSE WHO NEED THE MOST, LIFT UP THEIR
STORIES AND BE GOOD ALLIES AND HELPING THOSE WHO NEED
THE MOST ALSO BE A PART OF THE LEADERSHIP OF THIS
MOVEMENT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE’VE BEEN
VERY DELIBERATE ABOUT IS THAT WE CAN’T JUST LIFT UP
A VOICE. THAT VOICE HAS TO BE LIFTED ITSELF. AND SO
WE’VE DONE A LOT OF WORK WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS.
WE’VE DONE A LOT OF WORK WITH GRASSROOTS
ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE LAST DECADE. YOU KNOW, WE SAY
IT ALL THE TIME. WE JOINED THEM. THEY WERE ALREADY
PROTESTING SCHOOL CLOSINGS, THE HYPER
PRIVATIZATION OF OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITIES, AND WE
JOINED THEM. AND SO WHAT THEY HAVE HELPED US DO,
QUITE FRANKLY, IS DIRECT THE TYPE OF VOICE AND
FIGHT TO AMELIORATE PRIVATIZATION. LOOK, WE’RE
NOT OPENING CHARTER SCHOOLS ANYMORE IN
CHICAGO. WE ARE ORGANIZING CHARTER SCHOOL EDUCATORS
AND PARAPROFESSIONALS IN THOSE SPACES NOW. WE’VE
HAD THE FIRST THREE STRIKES IN THE HISTORY OF
THAT INDUSTRY IN CHICAGO LAST YEAR. SO THESE ARE
THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED BECAUSE WE’VE
TAKEN GOOD LEADERSHIP FROM THE COMMUNITY AND HAVE
WORKED HAND IN GLOVE WITH THOSE IN THE COMMUNITY. >>>SO I’M HEARING A
JUSTICE APPROACH, PARTNERING, A SOLIDARITY
BUILDING WITH OTHER UNIONS, OTHER WORKERS, AND
MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY. YOU ALSO MENTIONED THIS
DIDN’T JUST BEGIN WITH A STRIKE OR TWO. YOU’RE
TALKING GOING BACK TO 2010 WHEN YOUR UNION, THE CTU,
SAW A MAJOR CHANGE THAT YOU AND KAREN LEWIS WERE A
HUGE PART OF. TALK ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THAT BUILDUP
IS SOMETHING THAT OUR MONEY MEDIA NEVER
DISCUSSED. >>>WELL, LISTEN, YOU KNOW
I’LL TELL IT FROM A VERY PERSONAL STORY. MY SCHOOL
WAS CLOSED. ARNIE DUNKIN, WHO WAS THEN THE CEO
OF THE CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, HE BASICALLY TOLD
US WE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WE WERE DOING AND WE HAD
FAILED OUR STUDENTS AND WE HAD FAILED THE LARGER
COMMUNITY. SO THERE WAS A GROUP OF US WHO PUSHED
BACK ON THAT CONCEPT OF FAILURE, ESPECIALLY WHEN
IT DIDN’T COME WITH ANY COMMITMENT OF RESOURCES,
ESPECIALLY WHEN IT WAS DECONTEXTUALIZED FOR THE
TYPE OF GENTRIFICATION THAT WAS GOING ON IN THE
COMMUNITIES THAT SURROUNDED OUR SCHOOL
COMMUNITIES. AND SO THE NEW LEADERSHIP THAT
BASICALLY TRANSFORMED OUR UNION, TO BE HONEST WITH
YOU, THEY BASICALLY SAID, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A VERY
STRONG PERSPECTIVE ON RACIAL JUSTICE AND HOW THE
FACTORS OF GENTRIFICATION, THE DISMANTLING OF
AFFORDABLE HOUSING, THE HYPER USE OF OCCUPATION
AND NOT PUBLIC SAFETY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, FUEL
THIS REMOVAL OF BLACK PEOPLE FROM CHICAGO AND DO
NOT PROVIDE US WITH THE TYPE OF RESOURCES AND
SUPPORTS THAT WE NEED IN OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITIES. SO
WE BEGAN TO DISMANTLE AND REACT TO AND PUSH BACK AND
RESIST THIS NARRATIVE THAT TEACHERS WERE THE PROBLEM.
THAT PRIVATIZATION WAS THE ANSWER AND THAT SCHOOL
CLOSINGS WAS THE SOLUTION. AND SO WE PUSHED BACK ON
THAT. AND BY PUSHING BACK ON THAT, WE ARE WHERE WE
ARE NOW. THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. LOOK, WE
HAD A FANTASTIC STRIKE IN 2012 WHERE WE FOUGHT THE
POWER AND WE WERE ABLE TO MAINTAIN SOME THINGS. BUT
IN 2013 RAHM EMANUEL CLOSED DOWN FIFTY SCHOOLS
THAT BLACK CHILDREN ATTENDED. SO AGAIN, YOU
GOTTA PLAY OFFENSE, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO BE ABLE
TO CONTINUE TO DEFEND. 2019 THIS PARTICULAR
STRIKE SHOWED, I THINK, OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY THAT
NOT ONLY DO YOU FIGHT AND YOU WIN, BUT YOU CALL THE
SHOT BEFORE YOU TAKE IT AND YOU SAY THAT THIS IS
WHAT WE NEED AND YOU DON’T COWER, YOU DON’T BECOME
ANXIOUS ABOUT IT, AND YOU DON’T MINIMIZE YOUR NEEDS
BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS TOLD YOU CAN’T HAVE IT. >>>IT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE
YOU’RE REALLY GOING FROM BARGAINING TO BUILDING A
MOVEMENT. WHAT ARE YOU GOING AFTER NEXT? I’M
THINKING IN PART ABOUT SOME OF THE INNOVATIVE
DEMANDS THAT YOU MADE IN THE STRIKE THAT WEREN’T
MET. THE ONES AROUND HOUSING, AROUND CORPORATE
TAXES, AROUND FUNDS FOR DEVELOPMENT THAT HAVEN’T
SO FAR BEEN GOING TO HELP THE COMMUNITIES SCHOOLS. >>>WELL, THOSE ARE THE
THINGS THAT WE’RE STILL GOING TO HAVE TO WORK ON,
RIGHT? AND THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT WE CONTINUE TO
ALLY WITH OUR PARTNERS AROUND. LOOK, YOU KNOW,
WE’RE GONNA ALWAYS ASK FOR MORE THAN WHAT, YOU KNOW,
THE RULING CLASS WILL PROVIDE. THAT’S JUST THE
VERY NATURE OF MOVEMENT WORK AND COLLECTIVE
BARGAINING. AND WE CONTINUE TO HAVE THE
FIGHTS AROUND OUR NEEDS. LOOK, THE CHICAGO PUBLIC
SCHOOLS WILL ALWAYS NEED MORE REVENUE. AND WE’RE
GOING TO FIGHT FOR MORE REVENUE. SO THE GENERAL
ASSEMBLY JUST STARTED TODAY. THEY’RE BACK IN
SESSION. WE’RE GOING TO PUT FORTH AN AGENDA TO ASK
FOR PROGRESSIVE REVENUE AS WE’VE BEEN DOING FOR THE
LAST TEN YEARS. WE’RE GOING TO EXPECT THAT WHEN
DEVELOPERS COME TO CHICAGO THAT THEY’RE GOING TO BE
ABLE TO PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING BECAUSE IF
FAMILIES CAN’T LIVE IN THE CITY, THEN WE DON’T HAVE
AN OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE THEM. LOOK, THERE HAS BEEN
A PAUSE ON DEVELOPMENT IN ONE OF THE HOTTEST
NEIGHBORHOODS IN THE CITY RIGHT NOW. THESE ARE
PEOPLE THAT WE’VE BEEN WORKING WITH OVER TIME.
THESE ARE ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT WE HELP TO
GET ELECTED. AND SO THIS WORK WHILE LIFTED UP AND
FEVER PITCH, IF YOU WILL, DURING THE STRIKE
CONTINUES AND WE’VE ALREADY SEEN A COUPLE OF
THINGS MANIFEST POST STRIKE.>>>WELL, LET’S TALK ABOUT
THAT. I MEAN, WE’RE IN AN ELECTION SEASON WHERE
PEOPLE ARE FOCUSED ON THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE, BUT
THERE’S A LOT OF OTHER RACES HAPPENING TOO. AT
THE LOCAL LEVEL, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS PEOPLE
COULD BE DEMANDING WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT A REVENUE
SHARE OR NEW PROGRESSIVE REVENUE COMING INTO A
COMMUNITY? IT’S NEW FOR TEACHERS UNIONS TO BE
GETTING INTO THE WEEDS OF CITY BUDGETS. WHY ARE YOU
GOING THERE AND WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIFIC DEMANDS THAT
MAYBE OTHER PEOPLE COULD ECHO?>>>IN ORDER TO USHER IN
THE TYPE OF SCHOOL COMMUNITIES THAT WE NEED,
THAT WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT, THE
NEIGHBORHOODS IN WHICH OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY SIT. AND
THAT MEANS THAT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE SOME
FIGHTS ALONGSIDE ALLIES ABOUT WHAT THOSE
COMMUNITIES GET TO LOOK LIKE. WHAT TYPE OF
INVESTMENT THEY GET TO RECEIVE FROM OUR TAX
DOLLARS, BY THE WAY, BECAUSE WE’RE LIVING HERE
IN THIS CITY. WE’RE OWNING OUR SPACE AND WE ARE USING
OUR AGENCY BOTH AS EDUCATORS, AS I’M TAX
PAYING CITIZENS IN CHICAGO, AND AS A PEOPLE
WHO BELIEVE IN THE HUMANITY OF OTHERS. >>>SO STACY, LET ME ASK
YOU TO GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO TEACHERS ALL ACROSS THIS
COUNTRY WHO MAY BE WATCHING THE PROGRAM.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM YOUR VICTORY
AND YOUR MOVEMENT THAT YOU’RE BUILDING THERE IN
CHICAGO? >>>I THINK THAT TEACHERS
HAVE TO TAKE THEIR SPACE. WHEN WE SIGN UP TO BECOME
EDUCATORS, WE DID NOT SIGN UP TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO.
QUITE THE CONTRARY. WE SIGNED UP TO MAKE A
TRANSFORMATION IN THIS WORLD THROUGH ENLIGHTENING
OUR STUDENTS, THROUGH HAVING RELATIONSHIPS WITH
THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES, THROUGH BUILDING
COMMUNITY, AND USHERING IN A COMMON GOOD THAT LOOKS
LIKE JUSTICE AND EQUITY. THAT IS THE JOB OF PUBLIC
EDUCATION. >>>STACY DAVIS GATES IS
THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE CTU, THE CHICAGO TEACHERS
UNION, AND BIG PROPS TO YOU AND THE MOVEMENT
YOU’RE BUILDING THERE STACY. THANKS FOR TAKING SOME
TIME TO TALK WITH US TODAY. THANKS AGAIN TO
STACY DAVIS GATES. THAT’S IT FOR THIS MONTH’S
EDITION OF CITY WORKS. IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS OR
SUGGESTIONS WRITE TO US. THAT’S
[email protected] AND THANKS. FOR CITY WORKS,
I’M LAURA FLANDERS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *