Chess-coaching teacher stands up to union bullying
By 5/24/16 5:14 PM
Joseph Ocol just wanted to be with his students. So when the Chicago Teachers Union had a one-day strike on April 1, closing hundreds of schools, Ocol was one of the few teachers that broke picket lines and went to work.
Of course, the union wasn’t happy about that. Ocol says other union members have been bullying him, telling him to go work for a public charter school instead of Chicago Public Schools.
DNAinfo Chicago’s Andrea Watson reports that, now, the union is trying to kick Ocol out or force him to give his pay from April 1 to the union. If Ocol is kicked out, he’ll still have to pay union dues but won’t be able to vote as a union member.
The union scheduled a hearing for June 6 to let Ocol explain why he shouldn’t have to give up his pay from April 1. But Ocol won’t be there. He’ll be at his school, Earle STEM Academy, practicing with his student chess team. “I have always promised the kids that I shall always try to be with them after school even if I do not get paid,” Ocol said in a letter he shared with Watson.
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As for his pay from April 1, he’ll only give it up if the money goes to his students, not the teachers’ union. This is the same union whose president, Karen Lewis, called GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner an “ISIS recruit,” referring to the Islamic State terrorist group.
Ocol’s chess team isn’t your average group. His all-girls chess team won a national championship in April, and five of them will get to travel to the White House in June to visit with President Obama. Ocol is trying to raise funds so that all 35 members of his chess team can attend.
Ocol isn’t the only member who doesn’t fall in line with the teachers’ union. When the union voted on the April 1 strike, 20 percent of its House of Delegates voted against the strike. The union also considered a longer strike before the end of the current school year, but those plans were put on hold for the fall due to a lack of teacher support.
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