Education
Chicago teachers. Photo: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast Chicago teachers. Photo: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast  

Chicago Teachers Union celebrates strike anniversary with art exhibit for some reason

A Second City art gallery will commemorate the September 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike with an exhibit featuring hundreds of photos and various memorabilia submitted by over 50 union members.

The exhibit at the URI-EICHEN Gallery also serves as the last installment of series on worker rights called “8 Hours for Work, 8 Hours for Rest, 8 Hours for What We Will.”

The Chicago Teachers Union has created a Facebook page advertising the free exhibit.

The reception scheduled to kick off the exhibit on Friday will include a panel discussion on public education and privatization. The moderator will be David Moberg, a senior editor at In These Times, a publication founded in 1976 by lifelong socialist James Weinstein (with the aid of other radicals including Noam Chomsky and Herbert Marcuse, the famous Marxist).

Mark Dvorak of the Old Town School of Folk Music will be on hand to belt out labor tunes after the discussion.

In an email from the teachers union, gallery owner Kathy Steichen elaborated on the event.

“The enormous creativity and passion of the teachers fighting for a voice at work and to preserve the mission of their life work — educating Chicago’s children — was on display everyday inspiring me and millions of others across the country,” Steichen said. “This month’s show, a collection of images, posters, stories and art inspired by the strike, I hope will help keep that flame of hope lit.”

The last 12 months have seen an unmitigated string of failures for the Chicago Teachers Union.

In May, the Chicago Board of Education voted to shutter 49 elementary schools. (RELATED: It’s official: Chicago Public Schools will close 49 elementary schools)

The school closings are the centerpiece in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s long-term plan to close the $1 billion budget deficit currently facing the city.

By comparison, the raises teachers got as a result of their strike have an estimated price tag of $74 million each year.

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union and an ardent critic of Mayor Emanuel, has repeatedly promised to force the mayor out of office over the school closings. The union also filed a number of lawsuits, none of which has succeeded.

In an email obtained by The Daily Caller, Lewis swore that her side will eventually win the war by way of the ballot box.

“We must resist this neoliberal savagery masquerading as school reform,” the labor leader wrote. “We must resist racism in all of its forms as well as the escalating attacks on the working-class and the poor.”

A few weeks later, Lewis charged in a scathing speech at the upscale City Club of Chicago that racism and “rich white people” are to blame for the financial crisis facing the Chicago Public Schools. (RELATED: Chicago teachers union chief faults ‘rich white people’)

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