The Chicago Teachers Union
is pissed at a Tucson writer—who goes by the pseudonym Gabby Matthews—over a political erotica novel he wrote about a teachers strike that shut down part of Chicago's public school system for about a week back in 2012.
The union has told the author they do not want to be associated with this "spanking novel," titled The Teacher's Strike,
citing alleged trademark violations, according to the author. CTU’s communications director, Stephanie Gadlin, says a fictional Teachers Union logo on a shirt worn by the teacher’s character on the cover should be removed from both print and online copies, because it is way too similar to the union's actual logo. The union also demands that any copies of the book already printed be recalled, a letter from the union's attorney says.
The publisher and author have until Aug. 14 to comply, or the union will "take steps" to ensure they do obey, the letter says.
"I think the union is widely overreacting. It's just a book...I wish they'd recognize it is a political satire and just have a good laugh at it," Matthews says. He'd prefer not to reveal his real name, but he's a local activist and educator, as well. "I expected more open-minded sentiment about sexuality and gender from a union that purports itself to be liberal and progressive"
The book, which was released in July
, tells the story of an "illicit romantic affair" between a male student of legal age and his early-20-something-year-old female teacher. It takes place during the teachers' strike from three years ago.
The novel is described as work that "takes a sympathetic perspective on the Union’s struggle over educational policy inside Chicago schools. The main and supporting characters take part in the high-profile labor battles against city policies, personified in the book’s unseen antagonist, 'mayor of the 1 percent,' the unflattering title used by activists to describe Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel...At one point in the story, the book title’s double meaning becomes clear when the teacher spanks (or 'strikes') the student’s bare behind (and vice versa) in a romantic act of affection during intercourse."
Matthews says he, as a writing tutor, and the CTU fight for the same things: education equality and labor rights, so why are they so mad?
An attorney with the union says they reserve the right to seek damages and relief from the profit that comes from book sales—in the case the logo is not removed, that is.