American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is scheduled to join local labor leaders at a City Hall press conference late Tuesday to declare their solidarity with striking Chicago teachers.
Last week, Weingarten appeared before the Illinois delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. and declared that Chicago Public School teachers feel "deeply disrespected." One day after teachers denounced Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a "liar" and a "bully" during a massive Labor Day rally in Chicago, Weingarten urged the two sides in the bitter power struggle to reach common ground.
Weingarten's decision to make a special trip to Chicago demonstrates the significance of the Chicago strike on the national education reform movement and as the next test of organized labor's strength after the bitter battle in Wisconsin.
The only question is whether or not Weingarten will play a more direct role in negotiations to help bring the Chicago strike to a conclusion.
Despite her remarks to the Illinois delegation about Chicago teachers feeling "deeply disrespected," Weingarten has been highly complimentary of the mayor. At a joint appearance with Emanuel earlier this year at an event sponsored by former President Bill Clinton's so-called Clinton Global Initiatives, Weingarten praised several of the mayor's initiatives that have nothing to do with education.