Chicago’s Chuy Garcia Lost an Election, but won a movement



See the excellent piece by John Nichols on building a new movement from the Garcia race in Chicago at the Nation.

Why is UNITE/HERE supporting Rahm Emanuel ?

UNITE HERE Considers Itself Progressive. So Why Is the Union Standing with Rahm Emanuel?  BY FRED KLONSKY


In the winter of 2011, I was running as a delegate to the annual Representative Assembly (RA) of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the largest teacher union in the state. The 1,000 delegates to the state’s RA had long met at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. Running as a union delegate in 2011, my platform was simple and concise: “If the IEA RA is held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, don’t vote for me because I won’t attend. I don’t cross picket lines.”

UNITE HERE Local 1, who represents the housekeepers and other employees of the Hyatt Hotel chain in Chicago, were engaged in a labor dispute with the company. The downtown Hyatt Regency and North Michigan Park Hyatt were targeted with mass protests and non-violent arrests.

Members of my teachers local and I had joined with hundreds of others demonstrating union and labor solidarity against one of the city’s wealthiest and powerful corporate families, the Pritzkers. The owners of the Hyatt chain, the Pritzker family were prominent supporters and funders of the national and local Democratic Party. Penny Pritzker had been the chief fundraiser for Obama’s first presidential bid, and would soon serve on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand picked board of education; later, she would leave to be President Obama’s Commerce Secretary. Continue reading

A New Teacher Union Movement is Rising

Bob Peterson
Common Dreams

Teacher unions must unite with parents, students and the community to improve our schools—to demand social justice and democracy so that we have strong public schools, healthy communities, and a vibrant democracy.

Chicago Teachers Union rally in Daley Plaza in 2012. The nation’s public schools, writes Peterson, “must become greenhouses for both democracy and community revitalization.”, pbarcas / cc / flickr,

A revitalized teacher union movement is bubbling up in the midst of relentless attacks on public schools and the teaching profession. Over the next several years this new movement may well be the most important force to defend and improve public schools, and in so doing, defend our communities and our democracy.
The most recent indication of this fresh upsurge was the union election in Los Angeles. Union Power, an activist caucus, won leadership of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the second-largest teacher local in the country. The Union Power slate, headed by president-elect Alex Caputo-Pearl, has an organizing vision for their union. They have worked with parents fighting school cuts and recognize the importance of teacher–community alliances.

In two other cities –Portland, OR, and St. Paul, MN – successful contract struggles also reflect a revitalized teacher union movement. In both cities the unions put forth a vision of “the schools our children deserve” patterned after a document by the Chicago Teachers Union. They worked closely with parents, students, and community members to win contract demands that were of concern to all groups. The joint educator-community mobilizations were key factors in forcing the local school districts to settle the contracts before a strike.
Continue reading

Chicagoans Call for Paid Sick Days

Arise Chicago

Coalition Joins Chicago Aldermen to Support Legislation to Boost the Economy, Protect Public Health and Strengthen Financial Security for Working Families

arise_chi_sickleaveCHICAGO – In a strong show of support, small business owners, workers, health care practitioners, parents and Chicago Aldermen rallied Wednesday at City Council for paid sick days legislation. The group, organized by the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, is calling on City Council to pass an earned sick time ordinance that would guarantee that the nearly half million Chicago workers who do not have access to paid sick days are able to take time off when they or their families are ill.  A recent survey found that 82% of Chicago voters support paid sick days legislation.

“In this economy, it’s more important than ever that people can afford to stay home when they or loved ones are sick, without fear of falling behind on bills or losing their job,” said Alderman Moreno, co-sponsor of the Chicago Earned Sick Time Ordinance. “No working person in Chicago should be forced to choose between their family’s economic security and their family’s health.” Continue reading

Mayor 1%

Mayor 1%: Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of Chicago’s 99% by Kari Lydersen Haymarket Books, 2013

reviewed by Michael Hirsch

Protesters descended on Rahm Emanuel’s house on July 4 to decry his austerity policies. Credit: Rotating Frame/Flickr

Protesters descended on Rahm Emanuel’s house on July 4 to decry his austerity policies. Credit: Rotating Frame/Flickr

New Yorkers rejoicing in Michael Bloomberg’s departure from office can be grateful for another small favor: they don’t live in Chicago, where residents are stuck for at least two more years with an austerity-mad, street-brawling mayor who wields near absolute power over a City Council far more supine than the one we have here.

Bloomberg, the billionaire CEO, is rarely abusive in public. He speaks well of the city even as he helps friends pick its pocket. When defending neocolonial police action in communities of color, he doesn’t gloat about it — at least not within earshot of the press. Chicago’s sharp-elbowed Mayor Rahm Emanuel is more like the schoolyard bully who brazenly steals your lunch and gives it to the rich kids. Think of him as Bloomberg’s nasty little brother. Same pedigree. Different tack.

Kari Lydersen’s timely Mayor 1%: Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of Chicago’s 99% exhaustively traces the rise of Emanuel, a one-time Clintonista, former congressman and Obama consigliore whose mayoral victory in 2011 changed politics in Chicago from a machine-dominated satrapy where city unions had some small influence to an autocracy where community services were drained, unions frozen out or broken and city workers bludgeoned. Continue reading

New report shows racial inequality created by Chicago priorities

downtownproperityCHICAGO— On October 8  the Grassroots Collaborative held a press conference at City Hall to release a groundbreaking new report, “Downtown Prosperity, Neighborhood Neglect: Chicago’s Black and Latino Workers Left Behind,” detailing how the job creation benefits of TIF and city investments go almost exclusively to white, college-educated city residents or suburb-dwellers, and not to the Black and Latino residents of Chicago neighborhoods.

“Our report shows spending billions of dollars of TIF money in downtown has only gotten Chicagoans one out of four of the new jobs created.  Prioritizing downtown to the exclusion of neighborhoods is an economic development strategy failing most of the people in the city,” said report lead author Eric Tellez, Research and Data Manager for the Grassroots Collaborative .

The report lays out a sharp racial disparity in downtown job gains and losses.  From 2002 to 2011, Black majority city zip codes suffered a median loss of 620 downtown jobs per zip code and Latino majority city zip codes suffered a median loss of 381 downtown jobs per code; meanwhile, white majority city zip codes each added a median of 509 downtown jobs during the same period.  Englewood was one of the leading neighborhoods in terms of downtown jobs lost–losing approximately 800 jobs–while Naperville gained over 800 downtown jobs. Continue reading

Worker occupation leads to worker cooperative in Chicago

New Era Windows Cooperative

New Era Windows Cooperative (Photo credit: peoplesworld)

Podcast Episode 29 — A New Era
Recorded 07.13.2013: Peg Strobel interviews Armando Robles and Ricky Maclin from the New Era Windows Cooperative, a new worker-owned enterprise formed out of the famous Republic Windows plant occupation and subsequent Serious Energy bankruptcy. Robles and Maclin talk about how the coop was formed with the assistance of The Working World and their union, United Electrical Workers, and the transformation this has made in their lives. (35:25)
Download: MP3 (32 MB) or OGG VORBIS (41 MB).

Or for direct link to podcast without download, go to “Episode 29” at:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,583 other followers