A walkout by the public school teachers of Chicago demanding fair contracts and higher wages is in week two and Chicago's mayor seeks a court order to end the strike action.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Stephen Lendman, writer and radio host in Chicago about the legitimacy of the strike and the sell off to corporations that prioritizes profit over kids' education.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Does Rahm Emanuel have a case here against the striking teachers?
He has no case whatever. Thank you so much, this is a big issue for me, not just because I live in Chicago, this is going on around the country and I'm in touch with people close to the teachers.
This is an issue of a combination of study bosses, union bosses and corporate bosses waging a multi-decade war on labor. So we have a teacher issue in Chicago. Last year we had a public worker issue in Wisconsin. Wisconsin public workers rallied for two months during the winter of 2011 and that battle still goes on, it hasn't been resolved yet. A court threw out a law that was passed that ignited the workers.
What we have is a situation in Chicago and the media here and the national media in America; they simply mis-portray what's going on.
It's a lot more than about teachers' rights; it's about parent rights, student rights; it's about public education. To me that is the bedrock core issue. Public education are handing it over to corporate predators so that they can prioritize their profits at the expense of teaching kids.
I grew up in the 1940s and 1950s in inner city Boston - a replica of what Chicago is today. I went to wonderful public schools; they got me into two top colleges and grad school. This was when they were affordable. That is impossible today.
If I were a young kid growing up in Boston or Chicago or Pittsburgh or any place else, inner city schools would be destroyed, they are being handed to corporate predators, education is literally being trashed because corporations want to profit at the expense of young kids and their futures. And that is the bedrock issue that should be debated in Chicago.
The union bosses don't want to touch it and that's the main problem; the teachers are on their own. Maybe they've gotten the word. Will they stay out on strike? I don't know. Their strike is absolutely legitimate.
Is public opinion on the side of the striking teachers?
I haven't seen any polls, but my guess is probably so. You know, it's split because the parents want to get the kids back in school, you can understand that. Nobody wants the kids out when they should be back in school.
This could go on. I think the longest strike in Chicago in recent years was 19 days. Well, on the one hand they want that, but they also want something that's equitable. I think a lot of people are on the side of the teachers. I think more people support the teachers certainly than support the city.