After participating in the heavily attended, largely peaceful Take Back Chicago rally Monday evening, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis appeared on MSNBC's Ed Schultz's "The Ed Show" and offered criticism of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"Where is your mayor, Rahm Emanuel, where is the former chief of staff of the Obama administration, where is Rahm Emanuel on this? Is he anti-teacher?" Schultz asked.
(Watch Lewis's interview with Schultz below.)
"Absolutely," Lewis responded. "He's been very clearly anti-teacher from the very beginning. He came in, he went to Springfield to try to take our collective bargaining rights away. He made it so that it would be 75 percent it would take our union to strike. He was just like adamant about us not being able to strike. And then yesterday, he goes on 'Meet the Press' and says we're going to have performance pay."
"It's kind of hard to have performance pay when you haven't bothered to negotiate with the people doing the work," Lewis continued.
Earlier in the conversation, Lewis referenced the Chicago Board of Education's denial of teachers' previously agreed-upon, contractually-obligated four percent raises as the precursor of the ongoing, bitter battle between the teachers union and the board centered on the longer school day and year. The union has also filed an unfair labor lawsuit against the board as they claim that Chicago Public Schools is bribing and coercing schools with lucrative discretionary funding packages should they join a "pilot program" for the new, lengthened day yet this year.
The tension escalated to the point where Emanuel allegedly pointed his finger toward the teachers union president and yelled "F--- you, Lewis" during a conversation on the longer day debate.
According to the union, while 13 schools have joined the pilot program as of late last month, teachers at 115 other schools have voted against instituting the longer day, which will likely be mandated across the school system by the 2012-13 academic year.
In response to the union's criticisms of their pilot program and accusations of union busting, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll previously told the Huffington Post that they are "willing to support the teachers and schools who are willing to add more time to the day in any way necessary to make that happen."
"Why wait a year from now and shortchange kids for a year if their teachers at their schools want to do it today and want to give their students that opportunity to get a leg up to be successful?" Carroll said.
WATCH Lewis discuss Mayor Rahm Emanuel's relationship with his city's teachers union below:
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