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No ShortcutsOrganizing for Power in the New Gilded Age$
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Jane F. McAlevey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624712.001.0001

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Chicago Teachers

Chicago Teachers

Building a Resilient Union

Chapter:
(p.100) 4 Chicago Teachers
Source:
No Shortcuts
Author(s):

Jane F. McAlevey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624712.003.0004

This chapter analyzes the history of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) during the quarter century from 1988 to the union’s recent strike in 2012. It shows the CTU’s slow but steady decline from a mighty union into a weak, unimaginative organization. It traces the steps that disillusioned teachers took to rebuild their union in order to beat one of the nation’s then most powerful mayors—Rahm Emanuel—who had set out to break the CTU in the context of a broader and bipartisan assault on public-sector unions. This chapter shows how quickly a union can go from decline to renewal. It illustrates the profound difference between a union leadership that enables the rank and file to fight and a leadership that uses professional staff as administrators of a top-down union, constraining the impulses of its own members.

Keywords:   Chicago Teacher’s Union, CTU, strikes, Rahm Emanuel, public sector unions, union leadership

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