Karen Lewis: The Woman Leading the Chicago Teachers Strike Has an Edge!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times has an article on Karen Lewis, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union.  It appears the Mayor Rahm Emanuel has met his match as far as hard ball negotiation are concerned. Here is an excerpt:

“When it comes to demanding, pushing and sparring, few people could even begin to compare with Rahm Emanuel, the famously foul-mouthed mayor whose no-holds-barred tactics once included sending a dead fish to someone whose work he found lacking.

Then came Karen Lewis.

In Ms. Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, which on Tuesday completed a second day on strike from public schools across this city, Mr. Emanuel may have met his match.

She is biting, pushy, witty, unwavering. He is biting, pushy, witty, unwavering. Like him, she appears to hold almost nothing back — a quality that in recent days has infuriated City Hall and thrilled tens of thousands of teachers. She has called Mr. Emanuel a “bully” and a “liar,” someone whose “billionaire friends” are driving his educational philosophy. And that was only last week.

In the view of some here, the toxic relationship between Mr. Emanuel and Ms. Lewis helped push the city’s teacher contract talks to the point of a crisis, forcing 350,000 students out of their classrooms in the nation’s third-largest school system not long after the new academic year began and showing no sign of quick resolution. In stubbornness, defiance and moxie, Ms. Lewis and Mr. Emanuel are, some here say, equals in what now looks like a toe-to-toe fight.

“The only way to beat a bully,” Ms. Lewis said to a sea of teachers at a rally down the block from Mr. Emanuel’s office days before the strike was called, “is to stand up to a bully!”

Closed-door talks over a new teachers’ contract were expected to continue on Wednesday, but there were growing signs that the strike may linger.”

Well worth the read!!




Comments are closed.