Why is Obama abandoning the Chicago Teachers Union, just as he abandoned the Wisconsin unions during the Walker recall?

As the Chicago Teachers Union strike drags on another day without an agreement, and a CTU lawyer says the next hope is that an agreement will be reached Sunday, the president remains mum on the striking teachers’ plight.

Obama’s promised on the campaign trail in 2007 that he’d be a friend to labor when in the White House:

When I’m in the White House, i’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as POTUS, because workers deserve to know that somebody’s standing in their court.

Yet, Obama has avoided making any statement himself or living up to his promise to support the striking workers in his adopted hometown of Chicago. Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan released statements on the strike.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Obama did the same thing to Wisconsin striking public-sector union members. In the final days before the recall election was in Chicago (for what else, fundraisers), and he neglected to pop up north to rally the troops in Wisconsin.

He ought to be more grateful: Chicago public schools have been busy preparing legions of future Obama supporters. In addition to bringing their students and children out to strike this week, watch video evidence of them teaching students how to stage protests in the classroom from earlier this year.

And many in the the Teachers Union in Chicago continue to defend him. While at the CTU protests, I asked a protester wearing a CORE t-shirt why Obama wasn’t there. His response:

He’s got more important things to do right now. I think this is a local problem right now, if he wants to intervene, I think it should be around policies around–federal policies. But this is a local problem right now, with national implications, but….look, most of us here support Obama over Mitt Romney no doubt….

A few of the Industrial Workers of the World “Wobblies” I interviewed there were more upfront about their frustration with Obama. One said, “He said he would be here, but I’m not surprised.” Another said, “Here’s the thing, I understand that he moved a few years ago, and I moved recently myself and I’m still looking for some stuff that I’ve lost. I think we should chip in and buy him a nice pair of walking shoes…he probably just lost his walking shoes.”

Watch the video about Chicago Teachers’ feelings about Obama here:

Rasmussen revealed data Wednesday that shows 42% of Americans believe it should be illegal for teachers to strike, while 11% are undecided and 46% believe it should be legal. Maybe Obama’s hoping that he can continue to “lead from behind” in this as in all issues. After all, the Chicago Teachers Union seems to be giving him a free pass.


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