Monday, September 26, 2016

Teacher signs strike vote in hospital bed, a day after baby born | Chicago Sun-Times

Teacher signs strike vote in hospital bed, a day after baby born | Chicago Sun-Times:

Teacher signs strike vote in hospital bed, a day after baby born

Erin Franzinger Barrett, a CTU member and teacher at Telpochcalli Elementary School, casts her strike vote from her hospital
bed a day after giving birth via C-section to her premature baby daughter. | Provided photo
Erin Franzinger Barrett, a CTU member and teacher at Telpochcalli Elementary School, casts her strike vote from her hospital bed a day after giving birth via C-section to her premature baby daughter. | Provided photo

Some teachers complained about last week’s union strike vote.


But Erin Franzinger Barrett, a special education teacher at
Telpochcalli Elementary School, couldn’t be stopped.
Not by labor. Or a hospital stay. Or a C-section that brought her daughter, Xiobhan, into the world three and a half weeks earlier than expected.
State law, which governs strike law for Chicago’s teachers, counts the vote of anyone who does not vote in a strike authorization poll as a no.
That wasn’t going to fly with her or her husband and fellow teacher, Xian Franzinger Barrett, who’s also active in the Chicago Teachers Union. They took part in the one-day April 1 teacher walkout, during which she posted a photo of herself, with her growing belly in a red T-shirt, on Facebook captioned, “Baby’s first strike.”
So a day after baby Xiobhan was born, Franzinger Barrett asked the union to deliver the paperwork to her west suburban hospital room, and she signed her name from her hospital bed. Xian, currently a substitute teacher at Saucedo Elementary School, sat across the room from her and did the same.
Their baby girl — the reason they both say they voted to strike — lay in a nursery bassinet, with anti-jaundice lights on her and a “baby ski mask on so it doesn’t hurt her eyes.”
“I would like my daughter to be able to go to a Chicago public school someday,” the mother said. “I would like her to be able to go to the school where I work, which is on my block, It’s an absolutely wonderful neighborhood school.
“If we don’t get a good contract, if we keep losing power and losing power to the mayor and the Board and the people who make decisions who have no business messing with the lives of children in Chicago, there won’t be schools,” she said.
| Provided photo
| “To lose your job and your benefits right before the birth of your child — now we know your premature child — it’s really hard,” he said. | Provided photo
Her husband, has been laid off three times from CPS teaching jobs, and he suspects that the social justice work he has done with his students has made him an easy target. The last layoff was the toughest because it came this summer, as the couple prepared to welcome a child.
| Provided photo
| Xian Franzinger Barrett holds his newborn daughter, Xiobhan. “To lose your job and your benefits right before the birth of your child . . . it’s really hard,” he said. | Provided photo
“To lose your job and your benefits right before the birth of your child — now we know your premature child — it’s really hard,” he said. “I didn’t do anything wrong. The people who screwed up the finances of the district didn’t show up every day at Gage Park or Brighton Park or Julian and teach kids remarkably well,” he said.
“I think we need to think really hard about what we fight for in this strike,” he added.
The results from three days of voting last week will be announced as soon as Monday. The CTU reported that about 2,000 members didn’t vote in December’s strike authorization vote, when 88 percent of its membership approved a possible walkout. State law also requires the union to get 75 percent of its eligible voting members to say yes.
CTU leadership says they don’t want to strike. Negotiations are set to intensify this week with the Board of Education. The union also will hold a special meeting Wednesday for the House of Delegates, the union’s governing body, to talk about the next steps. Setting a strike date falls to the delegates.
The Board of Ed has said it wants to give teachers the most generous possible raise the cash-strapped system can afford.
Teacher signs strike vote in hospital bed, a day after baby born | Chicago Sun-Times:

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