NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 12 (DPI) — The NY Times, delicately navigating the politics of a strike by a big-city teachers union, today reports that the impasse is exacerbated by a personality clash between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Teachers Union head Karen Lewis.
But the substance of the article, especially an anecdote about Lewis double-crossing the Chicago Board of Education on Sunday night, suggests that Lewis is nothing like the mayor, a seasoned operative of the national political stage.
According to the article, “Negotiators for the schools complained that in the hours before a strike was announced on Sunday night, Ms. Lewis, who has been at the table during negotiations, refused to answer their text messages calling for a last-ditch meeting even as they waited in a nearby office. The way they learned a strike was imminent, they said, was when she never reappeared to continue talks that had run much of the day, but instead announced a news conference. Hours later, after a strike was announced, a spokeswoman for Ms. Lewis issued a release announcing that Ms. Lewis had just sent a text message to the school board president saying that union negotiators ‘are STILL HERE COME ON DOWN!’ ”
The union chief later publicly calls the Mayor “a bully” and “a liar” — names that almost any other public official would refrain from making, especially during a tense labor negotiation.