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Teachers union official asks CPS for ‘truce of peace’ after strike

Bill Daley (left) Advance Illinois Co-Chair John Edwardsspeaks during news conference as Illinois leaders reaffirm support for ongoing efforts improve

Bill Daley, (left) Advance Illinois Co-Chair and John Edwardson speaks during news conference as Illinois leaders reaffirm support for ongoing efforts to improve student opportunities and outcome at Arturo Velasquez Institute Tuesday, September 25, 2012. l John H. White~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 27, 2012 6:14AM

A Chicago Teachers Union official Tuesday called for a “truce of peace’’ and denounced as “saber-rattling” a recent TV commercial featuring Mayor Rahm Emanuel talking about the new CTU contract.

Meanwhile, two political figures — William Daley and Miguel del Valle — weighed in with different opinions of the latest Emanuel commercial.

Daley, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama and brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, said the mayor was merely exercising “free speech” in an ad that reduced the 200-page contract that ended a seven-day strike to four points.

Daley said he did not find the commercial “confrontational” or “divisive.’’

“He has laid out how he views it,’’ Daley said. “He has every right to do that. . . .

“Look — you can turn the channel,’’ added Daley, who indicated the commercial has been on so frequently, he has.

Daley, co-founder of the education advocacy group Advance Illinois, was among more than a half-dozen speakers who talked about life after the CTU strike Tuesday.

Co-speaker Miguel Del Valle, who lost a mayoral primary bid to Emanuel, jumped into respectfully disagree with Daley about the Emanuel ad.

“I disagree with Bill Daley and his analysis of the mayor on what he just did with the ads,’’ said Del Valle.

“I think that money should have gone to air condition some schools instead of on TV,’’ said Del Valle, referring to a frequent CTU complaint.

Earlier Tuesday, CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson told Emanuel’s hand-picked school board members that CTU and district officials had worked long and hard together since November to seal a teacher contract deal that union membership will be asked to ratify Oct. 2.

However, in advance of an Oct. 2 ratification vote, Brunson said, the contract is at a “delicate point.’’

“What would be most helpful to our future relationship in this process is if we could call a truce of peace,” Brunson told board members during their regular monthly meeting. This is “not a time for saber-rattling.’’

“Neither of us wants to win the war and lose the peace.”

Without naming the ad or the mayor, Brunson referred to “million dollar ads by a shadowy organization that opposes our process” for bargaining a contract.

The apparent reference was to Education Reform Now Advocacy, an affiliate of Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter advocacy group founded by several New York hedge fund managers.

The group bankrolled the recent Emanuel TV commercial in which the mayor explains what he says kids got out of the new teacher deal. He was merely speaking to “constituents,’’ just as CTU President Karen Lewis did in her recent radio ads, said Rebeca Nieves Huffman, Illinois state director of Democrats for Education Reform.

During contract talks, Education Reform Now-Advocacy also ran radio ads, featuring two women sitting on a bus, which questioned how CTU members could have voted to authorize a strike before they saw the recommendation of a fact-finder.

The fact-finder’s report was ultimately rejected by both sides.

Also Tuesday, Obama made his first full comments about the
first Chicago teachers strike in 25 years.

During a “Today” show interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Obama said it was “important’’ for Emanuel to ask teachers to “step up” their game but also for the CTU to say “Let’s make sure we’re not just blaming teachers for a lot of big problems out there; let’s make sure we’ve got the resources.’’

Also Wednesday, school board members agreed to hire Peter Rogers, the former CEO of Diners Club International, to serve as Chief Financial Officer for $195,000 a year. Rogers replaces David Watkins, who held the post for less than a year.

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