CTU Delegates Meeting Endorses One Candidate
By Jim Vail
The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted unanimously to endorse candidate Jay Travis in her election to become the state rep for the 26th district against current Rep. Christian Mitchell.
Several delegates and political action committee members spoke in favor of a candidate who appears to be ideal in representing teachers and working people in general.
"Jay Travis stayed overnight by camping out in front of the Board of Education in the fight against school closings," said Substance News editor and CTU consultant George Schmidt. "And it was a cold night."
Travis, the speakers said, supports raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, an elected school board, not allowing the Chicago Public Schools to take another pension holiday and does not support SB1, the recent pension bill passed in the house and senate that took a big bite out of public worker pensions (Chicago was not included yet).
"It is rare to have an ally and friend of such deep conviction and commitment running for elected office," said a CTU Political Action report distributed to CTU delegates at the meeting on Wed., Dec. 4.
The report noted there are only 4 races in Chicago this electoral cycle, and endorsements will be finalized in the next Jan. delegates meeting.
More interesting was the recent pension poison bill just passed this week in both the state house and senate, where most of the Chicago (machine) democrats voted in favor of new pension cuts of up to 50% of a pensioner's future checks, according to the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
However, one machine democrat who voted against the poison pension bill was a democrat the CTU has tried to unseat - Rep. Toni Berrios.
According to the CTU, Berrios is scared of the teachers who backed her challenger Will Guzzardi, who came within a hair of defeating the daughter of Joe Berrios, the powerful Cook County assessor (property taxes!).
Michael Madigan, the corrupt speaker of the house and big backer of education reform, and endorsed by the CTU, led the pack voting yes to the pension bill.
Here's how the democratic party works. They pretend to be your friend, I mean working class people's friend. Dem. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky was so outraged with this pension bill that would really hurt retirees, that she went public with her heart-felt sentiments.
Heck, even IL Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon came out strong against this bill that really whacked working people promised a small pension at the end of a long career.
The problem is, these two prominent democrats don't vote on the bill. The democrats supported it, and then denounced it.
How's that for how politics works in this system.
So when I went to the mike during the Q&A at the end of the delegates meeting, I asked if our union officers can pledge to not endorse any of these democrats who signed onto this pension bill.
CTU president easily wrote me off, almost swatting me off like a fly, saying we don't endorse, the delegates do.
This is true. How many teachers voted for Rahm Emanuel for mayor with no endorsement? Or how many voted for Mike Madigan (with a CTU endorsement)? Or who voted for the other CTU endorsed democrats like sen. Iris Martinez, who voted for this pension bill?
The CTU could have pledged not to persuade members to endorse candidates that hurt us.
But politics doesn't work like that.
And Karen is right. We the teachers decide ultimately if we want to back these people.