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Smiling woman at a rally holding two signs, one saying
Toi Hutchinson took $100,000 from an organization that targeted Chicago teachers.
The gun lobby isn't Toi Hutchinson's only questionable backer. ArchPundit points out that Hutchinson was also the recipient of $100,000 from hedge fund-backed anti-union education group Stand for Children in 2010 as part of its successful efforts to elect legislators who would limit collective bargaining for teachers, make it easier to fire teachers, and promote testing in the schools. Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman was caught on tape at the Aspen Institute in 2011 being very honest about what he'd done in Illinois—so honest he later felt the need to apologize. After Stand got its endorsed candidates elected by keeping a low profile and being evasive about its goals, but contributing piles of money like that $100,000 to Toi Hutchinson, Edelman explained,
... there was a palpable sense of concern if not shock on the part of the teachers’ unions in Illinois that Speaker Madigan had changed allegiance, and that we had clear political capability to potentially jam this proposal down their throats, the same way the pension reform had been jammed down their throats six months earlier.
Edelman and Stand then used that as leverage to get Illinois teachers unions to agree to a slightly less terrible deal than the "jam it down their throats" one. Among other things, the deal set a strike vote threshold of 75 percent of all teachers—not just all teachers voting, but all teachers—for Chicago and Chicago alone. Elsewhere in the state it was 50 percent. Speaking at Aspen, Edelman said:
We knew that the highest threshold of any bargaining unit that had voted one way or the other on a collective bargaining agreement, contract vote was 48.3%. The threshold we were arguing for three quarters. So in effect they wouldn’t have the ability to strike even thought the right was maintained. [...]

The unions cannot strike in Chicago. They will never be able to be able to muster 75% threshold necessary to strike.

Goal Thermometer
In 2012, of course, the Chicago Teachers Union soared past that 75 percent threshold, with nearly 90 percent of teachers voting to strike. There were a lot of factors in that strike decision and Mayor Rahm Emanuel deserves a whole lot of the credit for driving teachers to strike, but the law promoted by Stand for Children and made possible by its candidates—candidates who had, like Toi Hutchinson, taken in tens of thousands of dollars from Stand—was a major factor in that strike. And it wasn't just Illinois. Stand for Children went on to target Massachusetts, a state with the best schools in the nation according to many measures, for its brand of corporate reform.

This is the organization that gave Toi Hutchinson close to $1 out of every $8 she raised for her 2010 campaign. Please contribute to Robin Kelly.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 03:07 PM PST.

Also republished by Land of Lincoln Kos and Daily Kos.

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