Friday, June 5, 2015

HOD Meeting

CTU To Offer Aldermanic Correction
By Jim Vail

The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates last meeting of the year on June 3, 2015 addressed questions and concerns from its members.

I asked the question about an article posted in April on the CTU news blog that congratulated Sue Garza for being the first CTU member ever to be elected as an alderman to the Chicago City Council.

The author of the article congratulated the other two CTU teachers who ran and lost for alderman, including Tim Meegan and Tara Stamps.

However, the article failed to note that there were other teachers who rose to the call from CTU President Karen Lewis to run for political office. Ed Hershey ran an impressive campaign on the southwest side in Pilsen that almost forced a runoff, Diane Daleiden garnered 40% of the vote against machine incumbent Pat O'Connor and Tammy Vinson ran hard but was kicked off the ballot due to typical Chicago political maneuvering.

CTU VP President Jesse Sharkey, who now deftly handles the Q&A period in the beginning of the house of delegates meetings, agreed that there were impressive performances from several CTU members in the latest aldermanic races and that the oversight will be corrected for the record.

I then followed up with another question in the Q&A at the end of the meeting about sending in an email the agenda set by the Executive Board a day early so delegates are prepared coming to the HOD meetings.

Lewis said this could be arranged, but first asked if I understand this is increased paperwork and so something needs to be taken off the table to make this presentable. 

Very funny, and quite apropos considering paperwork demands have been a big sticking point for teachers.

Another teacher asked if it's fair for a principal to deny a summer teaching gig to a teacher, and the answer was yes. Principals are allowed to hire whom they want, Sharkey said.

Why do the eighth graders graduate on a Wednesday, and then have to return for two more days of school, asked another delegate?

The union leadership said that was thanks to the new longer school year law.

The union noted that re-elected mayor Rahm Emanuel immediately went to Springfield to say he didn't want to pay pensions right after the Illinois Supreme Court ruled the recent pension cuts unconstitutional.

CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson made a nice presentation about the payments the city is making while saying they are broke, including $212 million in toxic swap interest, while noting Illinois loses about $8.5 billion every year due to off shore tax accounts.

Brunson said that while Chicago Public Schools need to make a $400 million pension payment, they suck out $500 million in TIF monies that should go to the schools and other public entities.

"Is the Board really broke," Sharkey said. "They are not really broke if they pay bondholders, and pay toxic swap interest rate, close schools and then put charter schools in a year later after promising not to."

Unlike acrimonious fights in the past, the CTU's $25 million budget passed without a whimper.

Robert Pincham, the son the late great judge and pioneering African American civil rights lawyer Eugene Pincham, won an election to be a high school functional vice president to serve on the union's executive board.

In terms of contract negotiations, there was really no news. Everything the CTU negotiators propose is shot down by the Chicago Board of Education. The Board has even proposed to freeze lane and step changes in the salary structure.

Sharkey then asked for delegates to stand who planned to attend next Tuesday's big rally at the Thompson Center at 5pm. There will be buses from different schools making the trip. Just about every delegate stood up.

The turnout could tell the union whether the teachers want to fight, or accept the continued cuts and attacks on working teachers, while the bankers contracts and financial shenanigans continue to be sacrosanct.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your journalism and timely notes.