On Aug. 8, 2012, 90 percent of the members of the Chicago Teacher Union voted to authorize a strike. The strike began on Sept. 10. Four days later, a tentative agreement was reached, yet the Chicago public school teachers voted to continue their strike, unhappy with union officials’ compromises.
Such news was not met happily by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called the strike “illegal” and threatened legal action.
“These teachers need to end the strike or go to prison. It’s as simple as that,” he told the Colonel. “These are public school teachers. Who are they kidding? They’re not miners; they’re not postal workers; they show your dumb kid how to add with his fingers.”
Educators represented in the Chicago Teacher Union cover the entire gamut of both grades and disciplines.
“Unions are communist organizations. People tend to forget that,” remarked Emanuel. “‘Workers’ control?’ What is this, the USSR? The only things workers should control are the machines that make our shoes and Gameboys and yo-yos and stuff. That’s it.”
Upon asking another question, Emanuel interrupted, adding, “Well, if they’re men, they can control their wives too. But that’s it.”
The Colonel then inquired as to how Emanuel reconciles his prominent position in the Democratic Party, as 2007-2009 Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and 2005-2007 Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with his anti-union views.
“Look, I’m a Democrat, not a communist,” he remarked. “And if workers want control over their working conditions, they should be self-employed. But if you’re a public school worker, you’re a government employee. And government employees don’t have a say in their working conditions. Democracy’s for political candidates, not for working conditions. If you want better working conditions, tell your boss. They’ll get them for you. Don’t do it for yourself. That’s the path to terrorism. So don’t be a terrorist.”
“Or a Palestinian,” he added, recalling his controversial statement at a 2003 pro-Israel rally in Chicago.