Chicago Teachers' Strike: Greed or Grit?

Either way, negotiations must be public
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 11, 2012 10:50 AM CDT
Teachers march near the Chicago Public Schools district headquarters on the first day of strike action over teachers' contracts on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

(Newser) – Unions began as a powerful and much-needed force for good, raising workers from "scraping out a meager living in low-paid and dangerous jobs into the middle class," and nowhere more so than in Chicago, writes Dennis Byrne in the Chicago Tribune. But the teachers' strike is a different story: It's showing children "the meaning of greed." During a recession, teachers should be more than happy with an average salary of $71,000—especially after the city offered a 16% raise.

At Salon, however, Rick Perlstein fervently disagrees. There's a reason why you hear car horns honking in solidarity all over the city, he writes. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is "obsessed" with proving his "toughness," but why is he only tough with workers and protesters, and not with "the vested interests, including anti-union charter school advocates" who gave his campaign millions? He wants to see "20% more work" for "2% more pay." Regardless of who's right, it's time for negotiations to open to the public, writes Andrew Rotherham in Time. Both sides' private stances differ from what we're hearing in the papers. Click through for Rotherham's full argument.

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