President Barack Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, may be reaping what he and his boss sowed for so long.
Obama has made it clear he will use every means at his disposal to repay the support he enjoys from organized labor. But now Emanuel, who is mayor of Chicago, is having to cope with a work stoppage by that city's unionized public school teachers.
Chicago teachers walked off the job this week in a contract dispute with the school district. While they are walking the picket lines, about 350,000 students are not going to school. A contract proposal may be submitted to teachers later today, but it would still be next week before classes resume, continuing to leave working parents scrambling to find places for their children to stay during the day.
One contract dispute is over wages. The city has offered a four-year contract with 4 percent pay increases each year. Public school teachers in West Virginia and Ohio probably would view that kind of offer as a miracle to be seized eagerly-especially on top of the $76,000 average salary Chicago teachers already enjoy.
Another contract dispute is over teacher evaluations. Chicago union leaders are demanding less reliance on students' standardized test performance to gauge teachers' performance.
Again, Ohio and West Virginia teachers have their gripes about standardized tests-but recognize state legislators and school boards should have authority over such basic policy matters.
Clearly, the Obama administration's support for organized labor, despite its failure to publicly endorse the Chicago work stoppage, has emboldened strikers in Emanuel's city. Emanuel may be wishing now his boss had not been so eager to solicit political clout from the unions.