Thursday, January 22, 2015

HOD Meeting

The House of Delegates Meet Sans Its Leader
By Jim Vail

Vice President Jesse Sharkey has been filling in for a sick but
determined CTU president Karen Lewis.
Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey filled in once again for our recovering president Karen Lewis.

"She wants to be back to work," Sharkey told the delegates at the House of Delegates meeting last week. "She hates to be on the sidelines. Karen is fighting for her health. Do expect we'll see more of Karen. But I'm not a doctor to give you the whole prognosis."

President Lewis is expected to make a public appearance with CTU endorsed mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia this Saturday at The Grand Ballroom, 6351 S. Cottage Grove Ave. 11:30 am.

Sharkey said that eight CTU members ran for office, some were knocked off the ballot, and some have a real chance to win.

He also said the question of having an elected school board will be on ballots in 38 city wards.

"We don't have all the resources to support everyone," Sharkey said. 

Then our union leadership repeated the ruling class refrain that the school district faces "financial difficulties" (certainly no end in sight to public monies being rewarded to big political contributors!). Sharkey said the board of education had to go to a 14 month year to fund education. He stated we could start with a tax on the wealthy.

He then asked the delegates to approve an extra $1.4 million out of the CTU reserve funds which came from savings to go toward political campaigns, the contract fight and communications on important teacher issues such as pensions, school issues and the contract.

The question was raised whether or not it was appropriate to take monies not from the PAC fund, which CTU members fund voluntarily from their paychecks. It was decided such actions had been taken in the past, but this request would be "rare."

Sharkey said that newly elected almost billionaire Bruce Rauner will try to examine agency fee of unions to further his goal of a 'right to work' state where the unions can not automatically deduct union dues from paychecks. Agency fee payers pay almost the equivalent of regular members; however, they are not full members who can vote.

One interesting note about Rauner - the papers report he is ready to sign an order that states that those employed by the state executive branch won't be able to discuss, negotiate or set up jobs with lobbying firms in the future while employed by the state. This is the heart of political corruption, where state employees go to work as corporate lobbyists the first year after they leave their positions in state government. Funny, it takes one of the ultimate insiders with gazillions on hand to take on the real heart of corruption. So take that democrats!

Before the debate and endorsements on aldermen candidates, one long-time delegate Patricia Breckenridge lambasted the union for continuing to give money to the politicians who then hurt us.

"They don't know who we are," Breckenridge stated emphatically. "Why do we keep giving money to people who don't appreciate who we are?"

There was an eerie silence, as though we didn't know to laugh, cry or shrug our shoulders (I did applauded heartily!). She kind of called it like the child in the crowd, "But sirs, the Emperor is wearing no clothes!"

Indeed, happy political times we are having!

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