Home / Education / How to Break the Chicago Teachers Strike in 7 Days
Print Friendly and PDF

How to Break the Chicago Teachers Strike in 7 Days

Written by Gary North on September 11, 2012

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.” — Rahm Emanuel (Nov. 2008).

He said that when he was President Obama’s Chief of staff. Today, he is Mayor of Chicago. The teachers union is on strike. About 350,000 students have no schools to go to. They are being looked after in churches and other private facilities.

If he were not a screaming liberal, he could solve this in 7 days. It requires a 30-day program to make it stick. Permanently.

Here is Dr. North’s sure-fire 30-day remedy for any teachers’ strike.


First, the Mayor cites the statement sent by Governor Calvin Coolidge to Samuel Gompers, head the American Federation of Labor, in 1919 during the strike of the Boston police. “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time.” That phrase made him famous nationally. The next year, he was nominated as Vice President by the Republican Party. He was elected in 1920. He became President when Harding died in 1923. He then oversaw the boom of the 1920s. His career rested on that telegram.

The public knows that this policy is right morally. Public employees are highly paid — far higher than the private sector. They do not work as hard or as long as private sector employees do. They are protected from being fired. They get this in exchange for not striking. As soon as an public employees union threatens a strike, it is fair game politically. The politicians can and should refuse to negotiate.

We are living in the last days of public employees unions. Their pensions are breaking city, county, and state governments. There will be widespread defaults. The way to escape is to declare bankruptcy. Voters have had enough — more than enough. Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature called the unions’ bluff in 2011. They passed legislation outlawing union strikes. The state’s unions tried to recall him in June, 2012. They failed. This is in a traditionally pro-union state, right next door to Illinois. The public employee unions are now a paper tiger. It is time to challenge them if they threaten to strike. All of them. Every time.


Second, he says that the city will hire up to 11,000 new teachers in 30 days, and will not hire any presently employed teacher in the future who remains on strike one week from today. There will be no exceptions. This was Reagan’s strategy in 1981 when PATCO, the air traffic controllers union, walked out. He gave them a deadline, and he stuck to it. He replaced every worker who failed to be on the job on the deadline day. He broke the union. The voters were happy to see it go.

The Mayor then invites any unemployed certified teacher in the United States to send in a job application form to him personally. He places the form on his newly created blog. He tells them to send the filled-in forms to the Mayor’s office, Chicago, Illinois. He says that the jobs will be granted at entry-level pay, that class size will be 33 to 1, and that the jobs are non-tenure-track jobs. He announces that there will be no future tenure-track jobs left in the city of Chicago. Any teachers who are willing to replace the fired teachers of Chicago will be given preference in the future, but that the school board reserves the right from this time on to fire any teacher who asks too much in pay.

There are something like 500,000 unemployed or barely employed certified teachers in the United States today. The White House estimate is 300,000 jobs lost since 2008, with at least 280,000 jobs at risk in 2012. The Mayor’s biggest problem within 48 hours will be to sort through the mountain of job request coming in to his office.


Third, the Mayor tells parents to look up the salary of each teacher who teaches their children. This information is online, but few people in Illinois know this. The Mayor promotes it: http://www.openthebooks.com. He reminds them that this is with four months’ paid vacation, plus retirement benefits.

He should be sure to set up a site that shows what the retirement benefits are.

He says that this is the new policy for every employee of the city. There will be transparency. Anyone wishing to work for less, who has the same credentials, can submit a job application at any time.

See how the union like this new policy: police, fire, etc.


Fourth, the Mayor emphasizes the student/teacher ratio in the city. At present, there are 350,000 students in the city. There are 29,000 teachers. This is a student-teacher ratio of 12 to 1. When I was in school, long before the days when the American Federation of Teachers had any clout, the average class size was about 33 students. The new classroom size for Chicago will therefore be 33 students. This means that the city will need a maximum of 10,600 teachers. But, just to have some teachers in reserve, the city will hire 11,000.


Fifth, one week and one day later, after the deadline issued by the Mayor for teachers to come back to school, every teacher who was not on duty in his or her class the previous day will be issued notification of permanent firing by the city’s Board of Education. The list of these people will be posted on the Mayor’s blog site.

The Board of Education will begin sorting through the job applications. This will not be necessary, however. In all likelihood, more than 11,000 teachers will have broken the picket lines the day before, and will be in their classrooms ready to teach.


Sixth, the Mayor on day 30 holds a press conference. He brings in the stack of job applications. It will be a very tall stack. It will probably fill several desks with piles of applications 3 feet tall.

He then announces to the public that the past pay scales were unfair to taxpayers. He repeats the statement of Calvin Coolidge. He says that no teacher in the city of Chicago will be kept on the payroll who joins any strike in the future, for any reason.

He tells the public that their children are going to be well taught, and that he will not tolerate any union action that threatens the continuity of teaching for the children of the city.

For the rest of the strategy, plus a guide on how this would break the American Federation of Teachers, click the link.

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

72 thoughts on “How to Break the Chicago Teachers Strike in 7 Days

  1. fire them as they don't give a damn for anyone but them selves

  2. A better idea is closing the public schools in Chicago. When it comes to education, I doubt the kids will notice the difference.

  3. EXCELLENT SUGGESTION, Dr. North! A return to common sense!

  4. What on earth makes you think Rahm Emanuel wants the strike to end? He needs the strike to give the unions everything they've asked for – this union turned down a 60% salary increase and are not underpaid at $75K/yr.

    Watch for the outcome, you'll see that the unions get just about everything they asked for and 100% of what they actually want. When the people of Chicago wake up and oust the left they'll pay less in taxes, their kids will have a good education in time, and there will be less crime in the streets.

    Same thing happened here in NY recently with the Con Ed strike. That strike ended over a month ago, but we the people still don't know what's in the terms of the new contract and these jerks are well paid too. Both teachers and Con Ed's mployees have fantastic benefits – far greater than those who pay for them have.

  5. Excellent plan, I wish it would be implemented.

  6. The days of unions are gone. Everyone is an independent contractor to the establishment. Welcome to the future where your future is not a speck on the horizon!

  7. barb patton says:

    Sounds like a good plan – but the trouble is that the buddy of the ayatollah will not do anything that can and will crack this strike like this plan. He will pander to the masses until the taxpayer pays more money…

  8. First, the Mayor cites the statement sent by Governor Calvin Coolidge to Samuel Gompers, head the American Federation of Labor, in 1819 during the strike of the Boston police. 1819? REALLY? And then Grover lived another 100 years? Someone at the proofreading station is sleeping.

  9. Only 15% of the kids can read and write properly in Chicago, why send them to school anyway, for the indoctrination ?

  10. If he were not a screaming liberal, he could solve this in 7 days. It requires a 30-day program to make it stick. Permanently

    NOTHING makes Gary North think Rahm Emanuel wants the strike to end. The article is about how it SHOULD be done.

  11. Remember, he was the same guy who sent a dead fish to people he didn't like or who disagreed with him!

  12. dale briggs says:

    it is about time that the unions take a hike they are so greedy and the bosses have to much pay and teachers that have been payed to much for to long poor job fire them all and starte over with no unions telling the tax payer what we must pay to educate our kids pay privite schools christion schools and home schools what you pay teachers and maybe youwill get well educated kids and well behaved as well my opinion

  13. i doubt if the mayor will act
    he has to consult with you know who [barac] who will say no

  14. Well, Emanuel is a communist, just like his former boss. Goal is to jack up taxes to 100% of the residents' of Chicago income, just like Obama's goal of taxing the American taxpayer 100% of their income, and then allocate just enough of a subsistence income (in the form of food stamps, et al) to survive.

  15. Makes you wonder what parents are thinking even sending their kids to horribly failing schools…I homeschooled, and much of the time I also had to work, yet my kids both mopped up the floor on ALL standard testing in the State of Florida, my son easily entered the Navy's nuclear training program and my daughter has her choice of colleges next year. People need to take responsibility for their own kids and stop sending them off for others to raise! That is all public schools are for most parents, bad babysitters!

  16. Donald Langley says:

    These ideas should become national law !

  17. there are so MANY, new graduates with fresh thought and teaching methods…..waiting for work….FIRE these incompetents and hire new personnel.

  18. These wonderful , noble, "Educators" show just how much they care about children and education. They pick this time so as to hold thousands of children hostage to force action. Humanism at it's best. Do what ever it takes to please youself. Afine example to students who are watching their teachers throw their little adult temper tantrum. Fire everyone of them. There are plenty that would appreciate a job.

  19. Only one problem with this: The mayor has no authority over the school system or the teachers. Only the elected Board of the school system has the ability to hire or fire teachers, not the city government. The mayor is pretty much a bystander in this affair.

  20. Mishkacoats says:

    SteveP – I believeit was just a date typo. 8 should have been a 9.

    CALVIN COOLIDGE, governor of Massachusetts, telegram to Samuel Gompers, September 14, 1919, regarding the Boston police strike.

  21. As one of the unemployed teachers who now works at a well known superstore chain, I would applaud most of the points in the article, if this strike were happening 50 years ago rather than today. I do not think anyone will get a huge stack of applications for these jobs.
    First his notion of a class size. That worked back in the day when kids respected their teachers, when their parents demanded that they respect their teachers and get good grades. Now the parents are crackheads, the kids make more money selling drugs than I will ever make in my life, and they don't see anything else but the money, and no morals on how to get it. Most are from broken homes, totally programmed to be government dependent, their sisters are cranking out their first kid when they are 14, and brother has cut his first deal. Either gang members or wannabees, speaking in Eubonics and every other language but English. The teachers are probably getting hazard pay for being in the same room as the little punks..
    Also back in the day, teachers were actually allowed to teach. Now the curriculum is so screwed up by PC, state standards, No Child Left Behind, 0 tolerance for anything and everything, racial and gender sensitivity, and political interference, there is no time to teach.
    Also teachers do not get 4 months off, They are there one week after school ends usually last week of May or first of June. They have to be back a week before school takes up again in August. The time in between is spent in education classes, needed to keep the certification active, and which the teacher has to pay for. They get about two weeks vacation, same as everyone else. . Teachers have to have a minimum of bachelor's degrees, from 4 years of college, and usually also a Master's, 2 more years of college, plus endorsements,. They also have to pay for all the stuff you see in their rooms, all the neat and very expensive bulletin boards, posters, books etc. The school provides the texts, the desks and the kids. That is it. Teaching seems to pay well but, get this, I have more money at the end of the month from working you know where than I ever did when I was a teacher. By the time I paid for all the extra stuff, the nice clothes, the gifts and holiday needs for the kids, I barely survived.
    Still, the biggest reason there will not be any mad rush to apply for those jobs? Who the Hell wants to live in Chicago???

  22. This is mafia expression. No doubt Rahm is connected with the Chicago mafia…. big time. Rahm can do about anything he wants as this is democrat territory. No one but a democrat is going to get elected in Chicago. Newly elected republican governors have brought sanity to state finances, the same true with respect to a president elect, if that happens Democrats, and republicans, have given away the company store to get re-elected. Maybe a change is at foot with newly elected republicans now leading the way to sanity.

  23. stan in texas says:

    The only problem is that no one wants to live in that $hit hole of a city. Chicago is going the way of Detroit.

  24. Great idea and a scenero that any and all Conservatives come up with but it will never happen as the Dems depend on Unions to keep them in Office. With Chicago Politics being the way they are, if they really wanted the strike to end the would simply tell them to go back to work, or else. The 'or else' would not even have to be explained.

  25. Excellent suggestion , but do you honestly believe Rahm Emanuel would honestly do this to a group of fellow liberals ? And by the statements coming from the White House , there is no concern on that front . I have to suspect that this may be a part of a carefully planed plot to create a situation designed to give the wanna be dictator in the White House a reason to declare Martial law and when thihgs get out of hand suspend all elections in order to seize total power and control . Just Saying

  26. Wrong. They are employees of the state, the board being over-seers. He is not going to do anything anyway. He is on the side of the union, as are all democrats.

  27. Sorry, you are wrong. Any such interactions with teachers would have to be accomplished through the state legislature. Then the governor has veto powers to accept or reject. The losers? Students. The winners? No one. The thugs? The union stewards. The solution? Right to work laws and a state legislature with integrity. In Chicago that is an oxymoron.

  28. Ever wonder why Rahm left being Chief of Staff to be a Mayor of Chicago? Really? Setting stage for riots is the answer. Since Rahm has been Mayor the crime rate and murder has risen 35%. Now the teachers are on strike. This is a predominately black city and Obama wants a civil uprising to start somewhere so he can declare Martial Law.
    I believe it to all be a set up, watch this carefullly.

  29. You are so right! My son taught in CPS last year with Teach for America. It was a complete nightmare. Three of his students were shot and killed, my son broke up fights every day, there was repeated group sex on an abandoned floor of the school, and NO support from administration or TFA. He basically served as a jail warden for one year. BTW, these were 6, 7 and 8th graders. They were uncontrollable and suffered no consequences. If you suspend a student for say, throwing a punch at a teacher, he is back the next day because it looks bad for the school to have a bad attendance record and the kid is usually more of a threat out on the streets. There is very little education happening in CPA.

  30. even after he checks with obozo then obozo has to check with soros

  31. My son taught with TFA inteh South side of Chicago, and NO PARENT would want their young college grad to live and work there. Horrible!

  32. I agree with you Wyatt and posted it above.
    Here is another kicker for you-PASS IT ON
    I'd heard about this, but this is the first printed piece I have seen about this……..it's a very scary time for America now; we are in a critical time for our democracy ~ working as the founders wrote it should work. Right now, our president doesn't even run his programs through Congress, and he gets away with it. The corruption is astonishing and we're no better off than a dictator ruled country.

    This is an outrage. All Americans should be screaming foul!!!!!



  33. well at least one person is awake i think that is exactly what is going on

  34. Rhambo will never stand up to the teacher unions. He is of the same mold as obama…….die hard union/communist supporters. And NO courage. And from all accounts, no leadership abilities either…….just like obama!

  35. Seems from your post that the U.S. Dept of Education has done such a fantastic job. And the unions obviously support this abysmal record as well.
    I agree with you……about Chicago. But I would go one further…………who the hell would want to live in ANY large city?

  36. I'd heard about this, but this is the first printed piece I have seen about this……..it's a very scary time for America now; we are in a critical time for our democracy ~ working as the founders wrote it should work. Right now, our president doesn't even run his programs through Congress, and he gets away with it. The corruption is astonishing and we're no better off than a dictator ruled country.

    This is an outrage. All Americans should be screaming foul!!!!!



  37. Carson J Schardt says:

    I like Rush Limbaugh theory! It's a set-up for BHO to solve this crises before voting time!

  38. Ever wonder why Rahm left being Chief of Staff to be a Mayor of Chicago? Really? Setting stage for riots is the answer. Since Rahm has been Mayor the crime rate and murder has risen 35%. Now the teachers are on strike. This is a predominately black city and Obama wants a civil uprising to start somewhere so he can declare Martial Law.
    I believe it to all be a set up, watch this carefullly.

  39. Fire them all like Reagan did no more Unions in the public and the government sectors

  40. Inluminatuo says:

    Just one more paradigm example of what happens when non-competitive, real world unrealistic marketplace Union benefits and wage demands drive a once prosperous Company ,,,AND COUNTRY into debt and bankruptcy. Thank the Democrat party who was so able and clever in having you wages and tax dollars redistributed into the Union coffers who kicked back millions to their Democrat party in campaign donations to complete the Liberal Progressive circle of life that keeps you, your company, your job and your economy just going around in circles creating nothing but Rich Union leaders and Rich politicians,

  41. Excellent, excellent reply and reality check.

  42. "They are being looked after in churches…" Hmmmm….where is the ACLU and Americans United for Sep? Seems like they should be screaming about an unconstitutional establishment with Churches filling in the gap for on strike State employed teachers? Shouldn't there be a special program for this and employ another 30,000 on strike day care providers, after all these State employees are forcing an unconstitutional establishment of a Church and violating the separation of Church and State, aren't they?

  43. My question and that of many readers is obvious: Why salvage the public school system? Let it flap in the breeze.

  44. Or: "How to Be a Dick in 1 Article". You realize most of those "29,000" teachers are part time, or teachers aids? Chicago doesn't have an *actual* 12-1 student-teacher ratio. It's much higher than that.

    And the simple fact that when YOU were going to school and YOU had a 33-1 student-teacher ratio speaks VOLUMES about your idiocy. My classes ACTUALLY had 12 people, and it was the best education anyone could have received. Because, you know, teachers were able to get to know their students and truly give a damn. Yours didn't. Yours couldn't have – it had too many kids to be effective.

  45. And maybe,,,just Maybe,,the people of Chicago will wake up enough to clean house in their city government…but they have put up with this crap for decades and probably will continue..they wanted an obama guy for mayor and they got one,.and in the usual sneaky way.

  46. They should but the commies are in the White House and the idiot electorate will continue to keep him there.

  47. This would be the ideal time to fire them all since they don't have a "contract" and haven't had one for some time..can't break a contract if there isn't one.

  48. Obama says 12 seconds into this video "I want to recruit an army of new teachers". Well here's his chance.

  49. But..being the leader of the city he COULD lead…oh , I forgot..he is of the philosophy of leading from behind. He could meet with the board and convince them of what their job is…

  50. What is a surprise to me is that the unions didn't get included into their contract that they would receive full pay while on strike. Must have been an oversight on behalf of the unions

  51. Teachers receive $76,000.00 per year & the average wage in Chicago is $30,000.00 per 12 month year so the tax payers work 12 months while the teachers work only 9 & still receive much higher averages. Here I have thought that teachers were always underpaid but I stand corrected. No wonder they vote for tax increases they will get a $12,000.00 increase over 4 years but will only pay an additional $300.00 in taxes such a deal for the rest of the tax payers

  52. What? Not all public employees are paid higher than the private sector. Ive read this statement several times and after research I found that the public sector makes on average 6% less than the private sector. Now if your an engineer you may make more than private but say like a certified welder for the public makes less than private while moving outside of the welding class taking on other duties. So if you wanna say it works like the private sector, the higher people get paid more but the people that actually do the work make less. I for one wouldnt want a public job, no matter how hard you work, some scrub is out there saying you don't do crap and make millions. Teachers are for our futures education, invest in them. Get rid of the bad and keep the good with performance incentives.

  53. In every community where the teachers' union acts like bullies, which are most. Open these jobs up to people who need them.

  54. He should not have to ask the opnion of anyone out of the state, particularly the dictator-in-chief. Just do what Dr. North suggests. These teachers walked off their jobs, so fire them with no unemployement. Let them take their fat retirements to feed themselves.

  55. Even martial law in Chicago could not stop the election. That would be a stretch even for the dictator and his executive orders — he thinks he runs everyithing, so just sign an order forcing the teachers back to the classroom or fire them. And the raises and other increases are nullified, since they went on strike. Let them quit if they don't like it — did not look like too many of them missed a meal.

  56. As this article points out, there is a glut of teachers in the USA, due in large part, to the California layoffs.

    I would add to the above article that the mayor should target California teachers, since by now, most of the unemployed California teachers realize that the unions are what killed their jobs. They have even more reason to dislike unions than does the general public.

    Along with a deadline, the mayor should just start firing-for-cause one "Low-Performing" teacher (regardless of seniority), as each new teacher is hired, even before the deadline. By deadline day, all of the senior teachers would be back on the job and that would bring back the rest.

    With so many qualified teachers out of work today, the teachers' unions have zero clout. Any teacher who wants to follow the unions needs to be terminated "for cause". That means that the HR department may respond to background checks for those teachers with, "not eligible for re-hire". They would never get a teaching job again, which would be good for the entire USA.

  57. just ramblin says:

    Really Steve,I think you should read it again.
    just rambling


  59. "…will be issued notification of permanent firing by the city’s Board of Education." Excuse the cynicism, but if you can get the Board of Ed to do that, you will be nominated for sainthood. Our school board of education caters to the union every chance they get.

    The suggestions put forth are great, but no school board member in their right mind is going to oust the unions. The board of Ed is going to side with the union, not the school district because the unions wield power and can make life a living hell for those who do not toe the union line.

    I work in the private sector, and would LOVE 4% raise each year!! My employer has 34,000 other employees and I am sure that THEY would love a 4% raise each year as well.

    Too bad IL is not a right to work state. That would make life so much easier. You could then decide for yourself about joining a union instead of having it forced on you.

    Bottom line…the students and parents are getting screwed and the union is going to get eveything it wants.

  60. Nemesis of Empire says:

    There is no strike, anywhere, that cannot be stopped by shooting the leadership. Especially publicly. If you make it clear that to resist the authority of the God-blessed leadership is to join the ranks in Hell, people come around pretty quickly. Also, it helps now and again to make an example of them. No killings, just a finger or an ear or, for variety, a toe. Love them toes.

  61. Some of the ideas are good, but others are too harsh. Teachers are not slaves to bureaucrats nor babysitters and day care providers for kids parents have not provided for. School is NOT a babysitting service. And no, don't fire people for asking for a raise–that's ridiculous, we're not a dictatorship. People can ask, and the paying authority can say no. How about getting rid of overpaid administtrators and bureaucrats and making every school administrator teach at least half a day? THat would make them worth their salaries.

    Teachers are taypayers, and they have a right to be treated with the same respect you woudl want on your job—-bet no one curses you out or threatens your safety at work. While some of these people may be greedy, selfish, and thoughtless, Chicago schools are dens of murderous thugs ywho butcher each other—-let's see you have 33 of them in a room. Even corrections officers don't have to do that—and they're armed. Welfare and illegal immigration are the destroyers of the schools–teachers are not the problem

  62. How about paying those churches so they can restore their parochial schools?

  63. These days kids don't behave the way we did. Walk into a Chi-town, LA, or Bronx classroom and see what the little thugees do. They don't wnat to learn, have never seen anyone, let alone a father get up every day and go to work–the checks are now direct deposited.

  64. Too hard and unfair. So you'd destroy someones career and life? THINK. They have families—you want to pay their unemployment for years? Food stamps? Dont' be so quick ot fire people. What NY does is fine the teacher's union and the teachers two days' pay for every day they're out on strike. I would give a waiver if the strike was about safety issues.

  65. It's 16%.

  66. You did the right thing. My neighbors are doing the same for their daughter, my other neighbors are closely monitoring the education dispensed by their kids' public schools, and they won't let them ride the school buses.

  67. That's a laugh! Do you see Mr. Obama's clique bothering about "authority" ? They couldn't care less, they just do what they please, ignoring our Constitution, and leave us to pay for it.

    How about the Executive Orders used by Mr. Obama to do what the Congress refused to do, how about the appointments never validated by Congress of czars responsible only to himself to overcome the traditional set of ministers and advisers ? We have to realize that we are under a mafia that will stop at nothing to destroy America as we used to know it.

  68. i read it twice. It said "1919". Read it again.

  69. I agree with who wants to live in Chicago, former Obamaland!

  70. Watch to see our muslim-marxist "president throw his 2 cents into the radical teachers union strike. The teacher unions are leaving chicago students stupid. Is there not a distraction every week to cover the critically dismal jobs %. If the news media ever thought about telling the truth, obama would have no chance to win another term. EVERYONE: the real unemployment number is over 11%, because the feds quit counting those who could not find a job Obama is intentionally destroying jobs to show a lower employment %.

  71. just fire them

  72. Here's what absolutely will work for the betterment of the kids – school vouchers! Parents pick the school – whether its parochial, private or the public school system. And it will break up the unions. Jindal did it in Louisiana and test scores increase dramatically.