Saturday, October 4, 2014


House of Delegates Meeting Calm
By Jim Vail

The October 1st, 2014 monthly Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting was a calm affair.

Unlike last month's meeting that resulted in a vigorous debate over endorsing the democrat governor, there were no sparks flying at this week's meeting.

In fact, there were no resolutions pushed by the union leadership, nor impassioned political rhetoric.

A bit strange since the mayoral election is less than four months away, and it could see for the first time (ever?) the CTU's president Karen Lewis challenge Rahm Emanuel for the city's top job.

Certainly Lewis is serious about running and is in the process of gathering petitions to support her candidacy and raising money. She currently leads the mayor in popularity polls.

Lewis certainly is looking more the part of a big city politician addressing the delegates in a power business suit and sporting her new slim look.

The question that should be raised is - who is she meeting as she weighs her options to becoming the first female African American mayor of Chicago.

Lewis has cancelled a few conversations with Karen forums around the city. She was supposed to appear at Kelly High School a week ago, but cancelled. The students had painted a long banner to welcome Lewis. Instead, vice president Jesse Sharkey conducted the meeting that focused on the teacher's contract and any concerns teachers had.

Lewis also cancelled an appearance in Uptown, according to a press release her campaign sent to Substance News.

Perhaps the biggest question facing the union is the next contract. Teachers still have the option to vote to continue one more year of the contract, and with it a 3% raise, or elect to negotiate a new contract.

It took a massive teacher's strike in 2010 to put some teeth in the current contract, that included holding off merit pay which is being implemented in school districts across the country, as well as including "Just Cause" before firing a teacher. 

The business class is intent on forcing the politicians to fight unions and make all employees "at will" who can be fired at a whim, and used temporarily.

And of course, the union president is meeting these people with the big bucks who have put their cash into democrats and republicans to enforce union busting, education reform and privatization.

It appeared the CTU leadership took a break at Wednesday's meeting, perhaps to gather its strength for the battle ahead. 

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