The phrase “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” comes to mind.
An hour after the Delegate decision, the grand myth of Rahm Emanuel as the evil puppet master who controls all backroom deals took a hit as Emanuel turned not to his own team, but to the courts to solve the problem.
Again, when the talent is not on the playing field (or the negotiating table) to solve the problem---the problem does not get solved. Despite predications of success by pretty much everyone.
Back at the Union Hall, a house of delegates deciding they needed to take the final language to the full membership means two things. First, this is not your Grandpa’s Union. Conservative terror over union power can, in this case, return to being a talking point not necessarily backed up by facts. Because the fact is that the ruling House of Delegates said “No,” or more precisely, “not yet” to their leadership. And in Grandpa’s time in the union, that was rare. If it happened at all.
But there is a second reason why the teacher’s wanted to see the fine print in the deal. It’s because the last time they had a deal, there was fine print in the contract that said, “Oh, you know that raise we are promising you right now? The one we mention right here? If we say we don’t have the money, we don’t have to give it to you.” And they didn’t. Even though this strike is NOT about teacher salaries. That part was settled.
So while the teachers read the contract, the Mayor turns to the power of the courts. And that’s where things get even trickier. Lawyers not known for their ability to clarify. But the basic argument made by the Mayor, under the auspices of the Illinois Fair Labor Act, is that if a strike becomes a “clear and present danger,” an employer can file an injunction to stop the strike. As crime rates have gone down during the strike, the danger bit will be a tough sell. Clear and present inconvenience, but not danger.
Trouble, for the mayor, is that an unfair labor practice can be cited as a defense to that injunction.
Layered on to that fight, is another fight over “Senate Bill 7”---a new law that has been alleged by some---and not all—to limit collective bargaining.
And the topper? It’s been reported by various sources both in and out of the mainstream media, that none of these laws have previously been tested in the courts.
So while the mayor stands in front of his “talent” at the negotiating table and waves the dubious little stick of, as stated in the headlines this morning, “I’ll see you in court” and the teachers get out their magnifying glasses to read their contracts because hearing about the deal from their leadership just wasn’t good enough, and clichés about “who cares more about the children” ring like church bells across a sparkling September day in the city . . . .we wait. And watch.
What's next? Your guess is as good as anyone elses. Because of the unprecedented nature of events here, the assumptions that have been shattered and of course that ever present lack of talent at the negotiating table--your guess is as good as anyone else's.
Only thing for sure? This is getting old. Time to get this deal done.
UPDATE: Tuesday 11:30 AM.
The judge refused to hear the Mayor's injunction.
The Union House of delegates are scheduled to vote on the deal this afternoon .