by Ben Joravsky
At the moment, the mayor's negotiators are sticking to their opening offer of a 2 percent raise for the teachers spread over the next five years. That amounts to less than half of a percent raise a year. Factor in inflation, higher pension costs, and medical costs and teachers will be making less in five years than they're making today.
What? Does the mayor think they're journalists?
As I understand it, the mayor’s hardball offers ignited an exchange between union and board negotiators that goes a little like this . . .
Union: 2 percent? Are you kidding us?
Board: We'd really like to give you more money, but we're broke.
Union: That's what you always say.
Board: True, but this time it's true.
Union: That's what you said last time.
Board: Yes, but this time we really mean it.
And so forth . . .
My guess is that forcing the teachers to eat a lousy contract is all part of his wider effort to show the world that he’s the mayor who whooped the teacher union.
It also explains why he's tormenting everyone—parents, teachers, kids, etc—with his unfunded mandate of a longer day. The one where he mandates a longer day and provides no money to do anything with it.
Except, of course, shut up and read something!
He certainly makes no effort to hide his disdain for teachers and their union. In fact, he dropped the f-bomb in one of his first sit-downs with CTU president Karen Lewis at a meeting last August where he told her: “Fuck you, Lewis!”
At the time, lots of people were saying—what’s the big deal? The mayor swears at everyone.
But I don't know about that.
For instance, I can’t imagine Emanuel dropping the f-bomb on former mayor Richard Daley, the political patron saint who all but ushered him into office and could all but usher him right out.
In fact, I could imagine Daley dropping the f-bomb on Emanuel, not the other way around.
Similarly, I can't imagine Emanuel f-bombing the assorted high rollers who donated $25,000,$50,000, and even $100,000 to his mayoral campaign.
Of course, I'm not privy to the mayor's private conversations, so I can't say for certain.
But we’ve all been privy to a private conversation he had with former governor Rod Blagojevich just a few days after the presidential election of 2008, thanks to the feds, who were listening in on the other end of the line, so to speak.
If you recall, Emanuel wanted to be able to return to his congressional seat after a few years as president-elect Obama's chief of staff.
Man, butter didn’t melt in Rahm’s mouth as he sucked up to Blago big time. As in—please, governor, please—fill my congressional vacancy with Forrest Claypool.
It's "in my interest of, uh, you know, having somebody there, you know, that doesn’t want to make it a lifetime commitment," Emanuel told Blagojevich.
Claypool only wanted to serve “for, like, one term or two max—and then he wants to go to the cabinet," according to what Emanuel told Blagojevich.
Showing remarkable restraint, Rahm somehow or other managed to get through that conversation without telling Blago to go fuck himself.
In fact, old softie even had an I-love-you-man moment with Blago, when he said: “I will not forget this . . . I appreciate it. That’s all I am going to say. I don’t want to go—you and I shouldn’t go farther.”
I'm sorry, give me a moment to compose myself, as tears fill my eyes.
Yes, it sure looks like the mayor's carefully selective about who gets the f-bomb and who doesn’t. In other words, he's careful to keep it from people he fears, needs, or wants money from.
Obviously, what he wants from Karen Lewis is not an endorsement, a blessing, a campaign contribution, labor peace, or a respectful dialogue on what do with the public schools.
Nope, what he wants from Lewis is what she’s giving him—a fight.
In that regard, he can't drop the f-bomb—literally and metaphorically—at teachers enough.