April 1 was a historic day for public education in the U.S. Joined by diverse community groups and other workers, Chicago’s public school teachers took to the streets demanding more from city and state leaders.
In September, 25,000 Members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) stood strong on picket lines and flooded the streets of downtown Chicago in rallies, refusing to return to work until the school district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel came closer to their idea of fair in contract negotiations.
They prevailed. The teachers defeated merit pay, forced the district to hire 600 teachers and took care of laid-off workers. In doing so, they showed that teachers’ unions will not lie down, even as privatization encroaches. The teachers and unions also experienced an outpouring of support from activists and the general public.
How did CTU pull it off? What lessons are there to learn from the victory in Chicago?
A recent forum asked how CTU transformed its union in order to draw lessons for the future from the successful campaign. The forum was documented on video (posted above). Featured speakers are: