By March 1933, the [Chicago] teachers, owed more than six months’ pay, were demoralized by poverty, disgusted by their treatment, and disenchanted with the union leaders’ passive strategies. On March 17, MTU [one of several teachers unions in Chicago at the time] president C.L. Vestal wrote that ‘the leaders of the teacher organizations wish to do their part to keep our common boat on an even keel in spite of the storm, but the rank and file are becoming even harder to quiet…. [T]hey are putting more and more pressure on their leaders to ‘do something.'” Still, the leaders of the AFT and the CTF [Chicago Teachers Federation, a Chicago Teachers Union precursor] continued to plead with the Board of Education and acting mayor Francis J. Corr…for cash payments and to counsel patience and restraint to the teachers. … Facing financial ruin, and with the union leaders unable to deliver on their promises, teachers turned to more militant methods and to new unofficial leaders who emerged from their own ranks.
John F. Lyons, Teachers and Reform: Chicago Public Education, 1929-1970