Monday, June 12, 2017

HOD Meeting

CTU HOD Meeting Ends with a Thud
By Jim Vail
CTU VP Jesse Sharkey emotional outburst at the HOD meeting last week
revealed certain budgetary problems.

The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting last Wednesday was supposed to be focused on the budget.

Instead, the union leadership decided to begin the last meeting of the school year late so they could honor Jackie Vaughn - the hall is named after her - and pay tribute to Rep. Monique Davis -a 100 percent voting record in favor of the teachers union. 

CTU President Karen Lewis said Rep. Davis even voted against SB7 - interesting because Lewis at one point told legislators to vote in favor of SB7 which eliminated seniority rights and other bargaining items. She said they saved the right to strike, though legislators mandated teachers needed 70% to vote in favor. A push back from the membership, and resolution by the executive board against SB7 forced some changes, and confused legislators.

So the meeting on the budget started late. Many members left by the time a vote was supposed to take place. Delegate Frank McDonald asked if they have a quorum, which means are there a majority of CTU delegate in the hall to vote. 

At this point, CTU VP Jesse Sharkey erupted and shouted how could somebody call a quorum and then the union is left without a budget. It was pure sabotage to do this, he thundered. McDonald did not respond, and then Lewis asked if anyone would like to call a quorum, after Sharkey made it clear the delegates should not call a quorum. Nobody said anything.

During the debate on the budget, a few delegates had questions about the Chicago Teachers Foundation - whose budget was used to purchase the current CTU building. This was after the CTU sold the Fukes Tower for about $40 million.

Sharkey admitted had the union not used money from the foundation - not union dues - to plug a $700,000 budget deficit, then there would have been job cuts.

Another delegate asked about the union joining forces with the charters teachers union - ChiActs - and will this affect the money and time devoted to grievances and paying for lawyers for arbitration. Sharkey said field rep Joey McDermott and others devoted about $100,000 or so to help negotiate one of the charter school contracts.

Several delegates complained that the union should not cut its organizing department. According to sources, organizer Matt Luskin was moved out of the organizing department to the political department, so a vacancy was made available.

Executive board members, according to sources, argued to add another paid position to make room for another organizer. The board decided not to do this since the union has a big deficit.

At the end Sharkey yelled out that he quit. He did apologize afterwards for his outburst to delegates who said it was wrong what he did, by speaking out of turn and not addressing the delegates question about the quorum.

I believe the union leadership did not expect some good questions concerning a troubling budget.

The delegates voted in favor of the final budget.   

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