FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2013
UNITE HERE: Carly Karmel, 312-933-4045, firstname.lastname@example.org
SEIU LOCAL 1: Izabela Miltko, 708-655-9681, email@example.com
GEM: Aileen Kelleher, 312-351-0395, firstname.lastname@example.org
CTU: Stephanie Gadlin, 312-329-6250, StephanieGadlin@ctulocal1.com
Thousands of Parents, Students, Teachers, School Workers and Community Supporters to Rally and March for Strong Schools and Strong Neighborhoods
CHICAGO—A massive rally and downtown march sponsored by UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1, the Grassroots Education Movement and the Chicago Teachers Union is set for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, in Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St. The protesters will call on the City of Chicago and its Board of Education to stop school closings and slow the expansion of the charter system in order to focus investment in our public school children, working families and our city’s struggling neighborhoods.
The rally will unite people across the city who oppose the City’s plan to close schools, expand charters and eliminate good, middle class jobs. The current proposals not only put students at risk for bad educational outcomes and increased exposure to violence, but devastate thousands of workers and their families.
“The 27th will be the culmination of parents, students, school employees, and community members’ frustrations and anger as we band together to save our schools,” said UNITE HERE Local 1 President Henry Tamarin. “Chicago’s kids deserve strong schools in safe neighborhoods.”
“CPS comes up with a new excuse every year about why they need to close more of our neighborhood schools and open new charters,” says Michelle Young, President of Action Now and member of GEM. “With the amount of violence in our communities taking the lives of our children, school closings are not only irresponsible, they are morally wrong.”
UNITE HERE, SEIU Local 1 and Chicago Teachers Union represent school workers; the unions’ 125,000 households make up roughly 15 percent of the city’s population. These union members are not just workers in the public schools, they are parents and grandparents to 92,000 school aged children who overwhelming attend Chicago Public Schools.
“Mayor Emanuel says he is the mayor of the children—but to do that, he has to be the mayor of their parents too,” says Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1, which represents more than 2,000 CPS custodians and lunchroom managers. “Privatizing and closing schools eliminates good middle class jobs and forces parents and their children into poverty.”
“Since December, CPS and its appointed utilization commission has made a show of being open to public input on their plans to close 13 percent of the schools in our district,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, NBCT. “March 27 will bring all the emotion and anger from those network meetings together in one place and show the entities in power what real power is.”
What: Mass Rally and Downtown March for Strong Schools, Strong Neighborhoods
Where: Rally at Daley Plaza (march route forthcoming)
When: Wednesday, March 27 at 4 p.m.
Who: UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1, the Grassroots Education Movement and the Chicago Teachers Union are joined by a broad-based coalition of community organizations, including: Action Now, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Arab American Action Network, Blocks Together, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Bridgeport Alliance, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign, Grassroots Collaborative, Jobs With Justice, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Lawndale Alliance, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Northside Action for Justice, Northside POWER, ONE PACE, Parents 4 Teachers, Chicago PEACE, People for Community Recovery, Pilsen Alliance, Rogers Park Neighbors for Public Schools, SEIU Local 73, Southside Together Organizing for Power, Southsiders Organized for Unity & Liberation, Stand Up Chicago, Teachers for Social Justice and VOYCE.
Visuals: Thousands of protestors flooding the streets of downtown with posters, banners and props.