Message to Chicago Teachers Union

Fédération Nationale de l’Enseignment, de la Culture et de la Formation Professionnelle (FNEC FP FO)

Montreuil (France), August 27, 2012
Message To: Karen Lewis, President
Chicago Teachers Union

Dear Colleagues,
We just became acquainted with your present struggle for public education against privatization and for your rights.

We would like you to know that our federation, the FNEC FP FO, completely supports your demands and the ones you underline in particular:

  • For employment safety,
  • Against extension of working days and school periods,
  • Against teachers’ evaluation based on students’ and pupils’ results. (We have moreover read with great interest in a July 31 statement of Education International that this is more and more rejected all across the United States.)
  • For the protection of the trade unions, of trade union rights, of the right to strike and for the right to negotiate.

We are facing in France the same issues: Almost 13,000 teaching posts are slated to be suppressed at the beginning of the school year in a few days — and this we can’t accept.

We just succeeded together with almost all the teachers’ trade unions to have the teachers’ evaluations suppressed, which would have put an end to our collective-bargaining guarantees in terms of careers and salary progressions in order to introduce individualization and promotion on merit.

The new education minister wants to start discussions on this matter; he also started a concertation [“partnership dialogue”] to review our status and all our guarantees in this range. It is out of question for us to change anything, and that is why we are being vigilant.

Together with our confederation CGT-FO, we insist on keeping our independence against any and all governments; this guarantees the best defense of our demands.

The European Union insists on ratifying a treaty that has already caused great damage in Greece and Spain: wages lowered, massive unemployment, and drastic cuts in education and health care budgets.

Our government wants to propose the ratification of this very same treaty to the deputes and senators at the beginning of October.

With our confederation, our federation has taken a stance against this ratification and has denounced the austerity plans and the structural adjustment plans imposed on the governments by the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

The workers in the education sector and in all sectors do not have to “join up in the effort” to reduce a debt that is not theirs; and nor should the trade unions go along with the implementation of the austerity plans, quite the contrary.

Therefore we wish you full success with your struggle and with the strike you’re preparing with 98% of the teachers in Chicago;

* Education is an inalienable right, stop the suppression of the teachings posts, stop the layoffs, stop the school closings, and privatization; respect the status and collective-bargaining agreements;

* Respect all social gains;

* Respect trade union rights, respect the right to strike and all rights defined by the conventions and decisions of the International Labour Organization (ILO)!

Hubert Raguin
General Secretary

Jacques Paris
International Relations Secretary