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Teacher on strike in Chicago: It is all about the students

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The Chicago Teachers Union went on strike Monday, shutting down the nation’s third largest school system. The teachers insist the strike is about helping their students.

“We are out here just trying to make sure that everybody knows that the real reason we are here is for the students,” a female teacher picketing outside Steinmetz High School told Labor Beat. “We want to make sure that our students are well taken care of. They need to have the best education possible. This is for them, it is not about us.”

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The unidentified teacher said the school had about 1800 students and a little over 100 teachers.

“I’m advocating for my students until the very end,” she continued. “I am a teacher who is working for smaller classrooms, better and properly maintained facilities, we need to expand our libraries, we need to get more textbooks and up-to-date textbooks — my economics textbook last year was 12-years-old. We need to make sure we have more nurses, we need to make sure we have more social workers — our school has one social worker for 1800 students.”

“We are trying to make sure our students are properly taken care of, so that they can have the education they deserve.”

CTU president Karen Lewis said the 26,000-member union went on strike because the city insisted on implementing a new evaluation system and planned to cut some health benefits for teachers. The city also refused to install additional air-conditioning units in classrooms, limit class size, and hire more social workers, Lewis said.

But Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) has decried the action as a “strike of choice.” Emanuel and Chicago aldermen claimed the city and the teachers’ union had agreed on everything except the process for re-hiring laid off teachers and the new evaluation system.

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“When you hear that they have agreed on the salary, the other two issues are not strikable issues,” Alderman Latasha Thomas told the Chicago Sun-Times. “You’ve got collateral damage: the children. The children are pawns in this, and it was too close to strike.”

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Labor Beat, below:

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Activism

Pennsylvania Dem unloads on GOPers who pushed to reopen as they hid colleague’s COVID-19 infection

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Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) lashed out at Republican lawmakers who remained silent after testing positive for COVID-19.

Democrats this week accused Republicans of withholding information after Rep. Andrew Lewis (R) tested positive for the virus.

"It's been a week, perhaps longer, that House Republican leadership knew that at least one of their members had tested positive for COVID-19," Sims explained in a Facebook post. "But they didn't go on quarantine until they were done serving alongside us, especially those of us that serve on the State Government Committee."

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Activism

Video catches woman in Central Park falsely reporting ‘an African-American man threatening my life’

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A video circulated on social media on Monday showed a woman in Central Park falsely claiming that an "African-American man" threatened her life.

Late Monday, Franklin Templeton announced that an "employee" had been put on leave after rumors circulated online the woman worked there.

The incident was said to occur between a man and a white woman over the Memorial Day weekend. Cell phone video shared on Twitter revealed a verbal confrontation as the woman was exercising her dog without a leash.

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Activism

Mask-free customer berates Costco employee as he gets kicked out: ‘I woke up in a free country’

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A man was caught on video berating a Costco employee after he was asked to leave the store because he refused to put on a mask.

The confrontation was said to occur at a Costco warehouse in Las Vegas.

In video shared on social media, the man can be heard telling the Costco employee that he has 3,000 Instagram followers.

"I work for Costco and I'm asking this member to put on a mask because that is our company policy," the employee states.

"I'm not doing it because I woke up in a free country," the customer replies.

At that point, the employee takes the customer's shopping cart.

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