Rahm Emanuel Was ‘Mad as a Wet Hen’ at Chicago Teachers Over Working Hours, Union President Says

By Patrick Burke | April 1, 2013 | 2:48 PM EDT

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The president of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was as “mad as a wet hen” at Chicago teachers during a 2011 state labor relations board dispute between the union and Chicago public schools.

Speaking at the New York Collective of Radical Educators on Mar. 16, CTU President Karen Lewis recounted Emanuel’s efforts to implement a longer school day in 2011 by negotiating directly with teachers and school principals.

“So then he decided to go directly to the members and negotiate with them. ‘We’ll give you a 2 percent increase in raise.’ Now the raise was 4 percent. ‘We’ll give you a two percent raise if you agree to work 90 minutes longer,’ ” Lewis said in a video, which was released by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc.

She added: “He got 13 schools before we stopped that. I had to take him to the Labor Relations Board. Mad as a wet hen when that happened, just stamping his little feet. I know he was somewhere stamping his little feet calling me all kinds of names.”

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Lewis added that the Democratic mayor and others pushing school reform will be “relentless” and “illegal” in efforts to curtail the interests of unionized teachers.

“So the key is they will do and be relentless, they’ll be illegal,” she said. “They’ll do whatever you let them get away with.”

In October 2011, the CTU won a victory before the Illinois State Labor Relations Board against the city government and stopped the city’s negotiations with schools to lengthen the school day.

Last week, Lewis called Emanuel “the murder mayor” after Chicago public schools announced the closing of 53 schools, predominately in black neighborhoods.

“He is the murder mayor,” she said. “Look at the murder rate in this city. He’s murdering schools, he’s murdering good jobs. He’s murdering housing. I don’t know what else to call him. He’s the murder mayor.”

Murders in Chicago have exploded, according to Chicago Police Department statistics – with more than 500 murders recorded before the end of 2012.