Just before the tenth anniversary of the landmark 2012 Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike, new CTU President Stacy Davis Gates sat down with Black Work Talk co-hosts Steven Pitts and Sheri Davis. They started off with the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE), which Gates co-founded in 2008, and reflected on the new politics and leadership practices CORE brought when several of its members won union office in 2010. CORE understands the ties that bind teachers, parents, and their communities. Its politics rest on, as Gates said, “recognition of the facts.”
“As a Black educator in Chicago you are experiencing the fullness of privatization, the fullness of lack of affordability, and the fullness of the lack of public employee jobs for the next generation…The union cannot just be concerned with a pay scale and a sick bank and a vacation day. God knows those are important, but what do they matter when these vacant lots continue to pop up, when there are foreclosure signs all in my neighborhood and the school I want to walk my kids to is closed down? This forces you to do one of two things: leave or fight,” said Gates, who also serves on the Convergence advisory board.