Teachers Union Facing Crucial Decisions
(Chicago News Cooperative) — The newly seated Chicago Board of Education may have won the first battle with Chicago teachers this week when it rescinded a 4 percent pay raise, but it may also have ended a relatively peaceful era in labor relations and created a more pugnacious adversary. The Chicago Teachers Union has absorbed a number of recent setbacks. On Monday, a sweeping education bill that reformed teacher tenure and limited teachers’ ability to strike was signed into law. And on Wednesday, the board unanimously nullified raises that would have cost nearly $100 million. Some teachers and observers say that backing the union into a corner on wages and other key issues could be the spark to reinvigorate the membership. “If you act in a confrontational way, you’re poking your finger in the eye of those teachers, and very typically you generate unintended negative consequences,” said Robert Bruno, director of the labor education program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.