CTU President continues to destroy union democracy, works with Ron Huberman and Mayor Daley to build largest company union in Illinois

One month after she was awarded the first charter school to be operated by a union in Chicago (without getting the approval of the Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates) and two years after she announced that she was the "Chief Executive Officer" of the Chicago Teachers Union (she had been re-elected president the previous May), CTU President Marilyn Stewart continued her conversion of the CTU into the largest company union in Illinois by issuing a warning to teachers and delegates that they are not to host meetings of prospective election candidates in their schools. The warning came in the form of a December 14 letter to all local school delegates from Stewart.

Marilyn Stewart's December 14 letter to local school delegates ignores more than 70 years of battles for the rights of teachers to exercise freedom of speech in the city's public schools, and sides with a recent policy statement by CPS CEO Ron Huberman that institutes the most draconian restrictions in a decade. Among the court precedents that have upheld teachers rights is a 1980 case (Substitutes United for Better Schools v. Rohter) that established that Substance could be sold in the city's public schools. Instead of defending the rights of teachers, Stewart is desperately trying to win reelection by siding with management against the rights of teachers and other school workers. The letter, dated December 14, claims that the union constitution forbids the meetings until candidates for union office have been approved. But since the official announcement of candidates does not take place until one month before a union election, Stewart is effectively trying to bar any political activity (other than her own) between January and April 2010 is anticipation of what promises to be the most hotly contested union election in six years. The letter supports the position taken by CPS CEO Ron Huberman that he can radically curtail the rights of teachers to discuss matters of importance within their schools and using school communications systems, such as e-mail.

Traditionally, the Chicago Teachers Union has encouraged, rather than stifled, union democracy. For decades, the union’s newspaper, The Chicago Union Teacher, included on its cover the quotation from John Dewey: “Education for democracy; democracy in education.” That slogan was removed by Stewart six years ago.

Stewart's letter of December 14, 2009, comes almost two years to the day after she launched her attack on the union's elected vice president, Ted Dallas. In a December 26, 2007, letter to former CPS CEO Arne Duncan (which she signed "In Solidarity"), Stewart told Duncan that she had ordered the union's elected vice president to cease all communications with CPS officials on matters pertaining to contract enforcement. Dallas, treated as an employee of the union who had been hired by Stewart, was subsequently ordered not to involve himself in any activities on behalf of the union's members. Simultaneously, Stewart began undermining the powers of the union's elected House of Delegates by orchestrating a purge of Dallas through the union's Executive Board, which has virtually been appointed by Stewart herself. (The composition of the CTU Executive Board is a secret; the names of Executive Board members cannot be found anywhere in CTU literature or on the union's Web site). See "CTU Leadership Splits..." in the February 2008 edition of Substance [available on line at http://www.substance article.php?page=153& section=Article].


December 18, 2009 at 8:02 AM

By: Al Korach


Having participated in all the CTU strikes and been an active participant in all union activities I'm appaled with what has happened within our union. We continue to write Marilyn did this and Marilyn did that. While this is going on the school system and union slips deeper and deeper into a widening mess. As I have said before the only hope is that we organize all the oposition caucuses into one efective group and run a winning slate in the May elections. If we stay divisive we will end up continuing to write Marilyn is doing this and Marilyn is doing that. One has only to read what is happening to school systems in other parts of the country. Time is running out on the school system , the union and our jobs. I hope not our pensions.

December 19, 2009 at 12:16 AM

By: Jay Rehak

Stewart = Huberman

I am very disappointed in President Marilyn Stewart's latest letter, more or less regurgitating Ron Huberman's memo, in effect, attempting to stifle the free flow of information amongst members within the schools.

Clearly, the idea that any Union President would write a letter to delegates in support of the suppression of discussion is offensive on its face.

While President Stewart may feel that limiting the flow of information within the schools will help her re-election, such suppression harms the greater good of a strong Union.

Looking beyond politics, the only way the Chicago Teachers Union can regain its strength is through healthy debate regarding the issues that confront the members.

Thus, President Stewart does the membership a profound disservice when she supports Mr. Huberman's position that dissemination of information within the schools is somehow "wrong" or counter to education.

I hope President Stewart will reconsider her recent actions which support Mr. Huberman and instead support the first amendment rights of the rank and file.

December 19, 2009 at 6:42 AM

By: kugler

disrepute and labor law

jay those are pretty tame words against someone who is directly working with the administration to threaten union members possibly just violated federal and state labor law, including our contract and constitution.

you are kidding i hope. anything less than outrage at this blatant violation of our rights to organize and have free representative elections is a sellout also. jay if you want to be the next union president step up to the plate and protect the members with action and no more fancy words.

John Kugler

December 19, 2009 at 9:04 AM

By: bob


Ego=out we go

The time has come for all the major players who oppose our

Current Union administration to forget their own egos and unite under one banner

So as to go into the election with one united slate . The current trolls own the

Election process as the phony results of the November 20 referendum clearly

Point to the same in May.I personally favor PACT but realize CORE has some

Good people within its ranks and I hope both can come to some sort of

agreement on candidates. A united slate in May stands a better chance of victory

if we go into the election divided the current administration will win.

December 19, 2009 at 9:41 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher

I hope everyone will come together too. Stewart's memo is just one more example of her disregard for democracy and teachers. She quickly forgot where she came from and the many promises which she made when she was first elected. I can remember her going out of her way to talk to teachers at the HOD meetings and now she ignores these same teachers and act as if they are beneath her.

Without unity, this will continue for another four years. We need to remember history and the fact that the more people running, the better chance the incombent has of being re-elected. When I was more active, I proposed more than once that no one be able to serve more than two terms in a row. After that they should have to return to the classroom for at least four years before they can run again. I always thought that this would make sure that they remembered what it was like to teach. I also thought that benefits for union employees should be no better than those of teachers. They represent us and should have the same benefits so that they are encouraged to work harder to get better benefits. I think it would also prevent dictators like Marilyn because they wouldn't be fighting to keep their plush benefits and pensions.

December 19, 2009 at 10:56 AM

By: zeta

Marilyn's Dictatorship

Marilyn's attempt to stop the spread of information to the membership doesn't surprise me. It does not surprise me that she does not want to allow teachers to host other candidates for election in their buildings.

It seems that the attempt to lead and educate translates to fear and dictate. This new initiative sparks the emergence of fear and cowardice instead of strength and solidarity. It appears that Marilyn is trying to operate in an autocratic fashion bringing to her membership a plantation styled mentality that has dominated schools on the South Side of Chicago for years.

For decades this spirit of domination and fear has permeated South Side schools and has create the tyrannical principals and AIO's(CAO's) and administrators that Marilyn so reluctantly writes about in her union paper.

It's interesting to note that only when this oppressive leadership style began to flourish on the North Side did Marilyn feel it necessary to write about these dictators who abuse teachers and children in their buildings.

This attitude that South Side Schools are inferior while resources are denied and savage inequalities exist in terms of the allocation and usage of funds prevails today and is more rampant than it ever has been with the onset of 2010.

The attitude that if you work on the South Side abuse and teaching go hand and hand has to stop!

Instead of lending support to alleviate some of the injustice and inequity and disparity that exist in varying neighborhoods, so called leaders in the community like Meeks and others use this style of despotic leadership to humiliate and subdue their constituents and members.

The slave ship has sailed but the attitudes prevail.

It is time to mount one of the most exhilarating and surprising campaigns to rid our systems of those who know little and use the positions of authority to promote themselves while our profession is being destroyed.

Let's start with Marilyn and let it trickle down to every administrator who abuses teachers, parents and poor children who cannot fight the fight.

Let us do what great teachers have done throughout history, build a strong true rainbow coalition of parents, teachers and children.

December 19, 2009 at 11:43 AM

By: Pact/CORE


You right on Bob--I too hope that PACT and CORE can come together and really win big in MAY. Thast first Huberman memo on this 'supression' was at the behest of Stewart--let us know that!

A BIG win sends a BIG message to Daley about his evil ways and his appointment of Huberman. It will say that we are not slaves and this is always democratic process--Yes, we can!

December 19, 2009 at 1:33 PM

By: Jay Rehak

Analysis and outrage


From my point of view, it is most important that the analyses we provide of President Stewart's actions be as dispassionate as possible because I believe that is what the membership wants and deserves. We need to provide cold, careful analysis, devoid of a shrill tone that fires up the converted but turns off those who are looking for honest review of our current leadership and the actions they take.

So, rather than write "Stewart sells us out!!!" and making a few points within my political caucus, I prefer to discuss the issue in a tone that can be heard by the widest audience. (I’m also open to people telling me I’m wrong, but they need to tell my why in specific terms)

As hard as it may be for many to believe, not everyone in the CTU understands the damage President Stewart has caused to our Union by supporting Mr. Huberman's earlier memo regarding the free flow of information in schools. While it may seem obvious to you and me that by sending out a letter to delegates, reinforcing Mr. Huberman's misguided attempt at controlling teacher discussions of school issues, President Stewart has in effect, validated the idea that teachers have little voice in how schools are managed, it is not obvious to everyone within the CTU.

Our job as people who care about the rights of teachers, and who care about the ability of the CTU to maintain and fight for those rights, is to make the issue of free speech very clear to all the people in our Union, many of whom are not particularly interested in "internal union politics."

We need to make it clear to the entire rank and file that Marilyn's decision to support the suppression of the rights of teachers to disseminate information in school mailboxes and on the internet is MORE than just "internal politics" in the Union. Because if it's all just politics, than what President Stewart did was perhaps in her "political short term interest" because it allows her to keep opposition literature from going into school mailboxes.

And, if that's all it is, then it's too bad for the opposition, but many members don't care about "the 'unfairness' of the internal Union political process." On the other hand, if it is, as we believe, more damaging to the membership in that it limits our abilities, as teachers, to have a voice in how our school system operates, then President Stewart’s letter harms the entire membership, and not just political groups within the Union.

We need to make it clear to the entire membership, through our reasoned response, that we are not “against Marilyn” but for the strength of the Union.

Finally, let me note that I do not “hate or despise” President Stewart any more than I “hate or despise” Ron Huberman. I have spoken to President Stewart many times, and think she is a nice enough person, but, more importantly for purposes of meaningful discussion, she is ultimately weak in her defense of teacher rights. I have spoken to Mr. Huberman but never with him, and thus have no basis for any particular view of him other than to say (and I think he’d agree) he is not by any stretch of the imagination an educator. Both of these people are misguided in their attempts to suppress the voices of teachers, but I do not have any personal grudges against either of them. I simply, fundamentally and unequivocally disagree with them on issues related to education. Period. Both President Stewart and Mr. Huberman believe teachers should have a limited voice in educational issues, while I believe it is imperative that teachers be allowed to fully express themselves to one another, via school mailboxes and email, because full freedom of expression will lead to a better school system and ultimately a stronger Union.

December 19, 2009 at 3:25 PM

By: kugler

nice response - now action

jay put that in a letter and post it up on first class to get a reaction(get suspended or cut off first class) so we start working against this tyranny. like we talked about in the forum are the candidates ready to step up and take any action even at one's own risk to fight for the membership.

it is never personal for me, except for the fact that stewart and huberman(arne before) fuck with my family by taking away my right to work and organize in a harassment free work place. plus they just took my job away in june so now they fuck with my family by taking away my job that puts bread on the table. so it not personal its is business. the business of me, now taking action to protect my family against criminals who break the law.

if you want to be my union representative i expect you to do the same. you can save your discussion points for the debate class but we are now fighting criminals that could care less if one is nice or not.

again i will ask the question when are you personally as a candidate for elected union office going to take action against this transgression against union members.

have you filed any formal complaints, grievances or physically protested against the union and board collusion to take away our right to organize and share information?

we are on the same side except for the fact that anyone that works against the union is my enemy not my friend that includes stewart and huberman. remember that once a person works against the union they will never change and will always work to subjugate its members for their own personal gain.

take action -- time for debate is over.

John Kugler

December 19, 2009 at 4:18 PM

By: kugler

join my IELRB Complaint

i have already filed a compliant against the board for its huberman threat against political activity and posting literature in schools. violations of labor law, first amendment rights and our contract.(affidavits due last week of january 2010)

i will be filing a compliant against the union next week in regards to the stewart letter.(collusion with the board to coerce and influence a representative union election)

anyone who wants to join send me an email.

john kugler

December 19, 2009 at 6:48 PM

By: Bob

The Jet Ranger

The Jet ranger

Sometimes I wonder if our experiences help or hurt us. Jay’s last post was

worthy of praise, he is right about going into this election cycle in a impassionate

way. Most of the points he made are correct and this is in no way an attempt to

be a cynical wise –ass .

But all candidates must realize that we need help right now. In the last week my

School has had four major brawls, ten arrests, two false alarms, a real bomb threat

And several staff members, including me, assaulted. It is pretty hard look at the

Big picture when garbage cans are bouncing off you head. Lofty ideals of teacher

Rights don’t mean much when we have to stand guard at the fire alarm boxes

Rather than teach kids. Our administration is trying to do their jobs and are not

To blame ,after all it’s their necks too.

Those of us who are blessed to teach in selective enrollment schools must realize

It is pretty hard to discuss the finer points of the first amendment when that

Police jet ranger helicopter is hovering over the school.

December 20, 2009 at 2:19 AM

By: kugler

properly report incidents

when incidents of violence and school disruption are covered up and not reported properly to the proper authorities there will never be any accountability in the central office for how we are forced to work everyday.

what you described is an unsafe work condition that violates your rights under federal labor law. when it is not properly reported it will never get fixed.

I have several complaints of unsafe work conditions and the more we join together maybe we can have a safe work environment and not be subjected to daily violence. not other profession or workplace would tolerate this much violence on such a regular basis. non of which have been properly taken up by the union to help me or my fellow union members.

Instead the union leadership uses its resources to stay in power and fight against its own membership instead of enforcing the contract and the law.

bob why not send me an email so we can talk.

john kugler

December 20, 2009 at 9:12 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

When passion is needed, dispassionate is selling out

I disagree with the notion that we should try and be "dispassionate" in the face of insults, slanders, assaults, batteries, and worse. It's time to be passionate about defending one another, defending our jobs and profession, defending our union, and defending public education and democracy.

The next thing you know, some people will be sounding like an echo from beyond the grave: Michael Scott saying in soothing tones while on his fourth starched white shirt of the day, "There are two sides to every question, you know..."


In every major fight worth fighting in history, there were many "sides," but finally there was — and is — a right side.

Are we really being told to listen "dispassionately" in 1850 to the defenders of slavery? Or to share the passion of John Brown and thousands of Nat Turners whose voices were cut from their throats over more than 200 years of servitude, while they grew passionate as their wives and daughters were raped.

Which side were we on in 1936 in Spain? Or during the last major imperial adventure that destroyed our fortunes, took money from every decent thing we should have been improving here at home — Vietnam. And now, Iraq and Afghanistan?

History is revised over time, as we all know. "Birth of a Nation" and "Gone with the Wind" were as important as Plessy v. Ferguson to Jim Crow and Lynch Law. But eventually, the truth catches up, and, to tribute the season and the day, lukewarm gets spit out as readily as the classic lies that once passed for truth.

I cite Michael Scott because for more than a month we've witnessed one of the screwiest examples of mass mind melt as this mendacious city — which produced Richard M. Daley, Arne Duncan, Paul Vallas, and now "Race to the top" for public education — has ever seen. It's not about whether the "narrative frame" is secure, but about facts, and truth.

And as to Michael Scott and the latest silly hagiography in Chicago, I was one of the few people who would talk honestly to his face and point out that he was a fraud, top to bottom, just like the guys he helped elevate to national noxiousness -- like Arne Duncan.

There were two "sides" to every question Michael Scott dispassionately did the Mayor's corporate bidding on with deft and almost slavish efficiency:

The side of the people, democracy, and public education. The side of the facts and the truth.

And the side of corporate power, "CEO" rule, and a return to servitude.

The sides of unions, popular power, democracy, and decent public schools for all children and the side of plutocracy and greed.

Scrape off all the scales of lies, and underneath there is nothing to be "dispassionate" about, my friend and friends. Even from the handful of public schools left (for example, the magnet high schools) that can still be called bastions of purpose -- and privilege. ("First they came for..." is always a good reminder in this season of religious repurposing, even for those of us whose beliefs run to the secular... For believers, it's time to re-read the works of guys like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and stop trying to equivocate. That time ended long ago, just as it should have earlier for the theologian cited in the context of that famous quote from another preacher in the same country during the same years).

Michael Scott always had a pocket full of cash (literally or figuratively) to purchase the other "side" in those non-debates. Because he could con with the best of them, he could spend the time foraging for sellouts and Judases. Usually, and sadly, he could find one or two in any part of town. That provided the mayor (temporarily) and the mayor's media with the mayor's "side" during those brief pubic debates.

Michael Scott was one of the most brilliant servants of power in the history of this century because he did it with that dispassionate smile. For people who craved a "seat at the table," Michael knew them inside out and knew how to run the con like the best grifter ever. Give them that "seat" at the table until they've sold out their friends, then dump them and throw a few scraps at them as they are dragged away. You don't want a seat at the table unless you own the table.

His "RAP" program (which I also joke about with him and a handful of others) meant:

Rent a Parent

Rent a Preacher

Rent a Professor

That's how Chicago's corporate media always got "two sides." One side was from the majority of schools where things were getting worse for the kids and everyone else in the building.

The other "side" was the one corporate Chicago purchased, often with Michael Scott as the bag man.

Get real and get passionate, or at least get out of the way. I'd no more give a forum to the defenders of corporate "school reform" or Marilyn Stewart's "CEO" version of unionism in 2010 than I would have shared the stage with John C. Calhoun or Jefferson Davis in a debate about chattel slavery in 1855. There was only one side to that debate, and it was the side of democracy, human freedom, and those who defend the rights of every man, woman and child.

The other side was simple: It was the wrong side. For a time, it had the power of the pulpit and the purse across half the land mass of this nation. It could "frame" the narrative and demand equal time from the dispassionate. The same is true today, but we're being framed by a different set of lies and in the interest of a different set of liars and thieves.

True 200 years ago. True today. Get passionate. Better to know you lived for something worthwhile than to look for the compromise that will catch you as the sands of time recede.

Like they eventually did for Mayor Daley's corporate "school reform" bag man on the banks of the Chicago River on the night of November 15, 2009.

December 20, 2009 at 10:38 AM

By: Al Korach


Atta Boy George! You still tell it like it is! No meandering kiss ass B.S.Those of us who believe that a subservient attitude will allow issues to eventually come our way has not studied the history of the labor movement. A previous bloger is out of touch. He reminds me of a striker that is run over by his boss and then appoligizes for messing up his tires. I've been in this since our first collective bargaing contract and all our strikes. (certified 1952)If you think that by being passive things will work out for you. You are out of touch or possibly have an alternate agenda. Do you remember what a past CTU President once said? "Stand up and be counted or roll over and be mounted."

December 20, 2009 at 5:31 PM

By: truth seeker

might insurrection be an answer?

If CTU as constructed is beyond repair, perhaps this article from In These Times discussing the insurrection of UHW from SEIU might provide an idea:\r\r

December 20, 2009 at 6:24 PM

By: Jay Rehak

being real and passionate

George, John,

Let's all get real: the idea that there is only one side of a debate is illogical on its face. In reality, a debate, by definition, means there is some disagreement amongst people. I think we can agree that there may be only one "right" side to be on, but the fact is, when a debate rages, at least two sides are presented, and it is incumbent on the "right side" to make the best case to help others see that the wrong side is using false rhetoric. (ironically enough, often emotional language that keeps the truth hidden!)

From my point of view, debates are best won through reasoned argument because those on the wrong side can't claim "it's all because the opponents have an agenda." This does not preclude passionate defense of that reasoned argument, but in its presentation, the best argument is one that can be heard by the most people.

Calling people "criminal", "moronic" or worse makes those on the

"right side" feel good about themselves, but usually doesn't help persuade the large indifferent middle group of people to move to a particular side; in fact, it often has a counter effect: it causes many in the middle to side with the "oppressed" or seemingly besmirched "wrong side!"

Using George's metaphor, Abraham Lincoln said it was Harriet Beecher Stowe's very specific explication of slavery that brought on the Civil War. I'm sure Stowe believed Calhoun and Davis were "criminal", "moronic" or worse, but she never said that. Instead, she chose to provide a very specific, detailed explanation of the evils of slavery and let her readership decide if human slavery was defendable. In short, she took on the debate by letting the facts speak for themselves. When that happened, the end of slavery became inevitable.

For the record: I analyze issues from a very real and very passionate point of view. Because of that perspective, I'd gladly debate anyone at any time on any issue relative to corporate school reform or the nature of true unionism. I am willing to do this because I believe I am on the "right side" of those issues, and I believe those who are on the "wrong side" of them do not have the facts or history on their side. I also believe those who would listen to such a debate with an open mind would have the best chance of "conversion" if they listened to the facts absent vitriol.

December 20, 2009 at 11:39 PM

By: kugler

jay - put up or shut up

got out on the line and post on first class your thoughts about huberman and your vision for the union.

when you do that i might then think you have some balls otherwise i am starting to feel you are a weak ass that should have no place in the next union administration.

reading your candidacy speech of how you will be a good union president was my second hint of your union character.

also post here in public that you will join my two IELRB complaint's against huberman and stewart for collusion to influence a union election.

otherwise i will know what side you are on.

there is only one side and one argument and that is for the right of everyone to work free of harassment and fear that is what a union fights for. when you say we have to be nice not to scare people away when they are getting fucked and thrown on the street then your thinking is shit.

the school i worked at has an average of one violent act per day and at least one large scale violent act per week. this is a fact that needs to be addressed and talking nicely and fancy about how not to be fucked over just does not cut it anymore.

vitriol is when 1000's of teachers are fired and you sir say we should talk nice. you insult me and every hard working teacher that has been abused by the union and board over the years.

take action -- time for debate is over.

John Kugler

PS are you working with haji to disrupt the elections?

December 21, 2009 at 4:05 AM

By: Garth Liebhaber

Knowledge and Passion (caring)

I'll join the IELRB complaint. I'll concede to Jay that you need to tailor the tone of your voice to your audience. For instance, I know I need to talk differently to a young first year art teacher at a newly built school with a supplies budget of $8,000 than to someone who has worked the last five years with virtually no budget. This notion of 'debate' is overrated. The CTU membership is in an organizing vacuum. The Marylin Stewart "leadership" is a lack of leadership. You need to know what you're talking about, for sure. But most of the work is in organizing rank and file teachers, getting them on board an organization that can act cohesively. One that keeps them informed, so they know how to talk to other teachers in countering the lies of the board of ed. To be informed, so they know how to vote, and are prepared to strike. This coming election will not be won on a debate stage. Like Daley, I doubt Marilyn will even go there. This election will be determined first by who is in control of running the election and then by who is able to organize enough votes. Not by giving the prettiest speech and then hoping the results come in from the masses of teachers. But by going school to school, organizing delegates/representatives/individual teachers that you can count on. That is the biggest reason Marilyn Stewart has come out with her letter limiting such organizing. It is the biggest threat to her. Anyone who has gone out and flyered at schools, or talked actively with teachers outside their building knows this. Now, to concede somewhat to Jay, another of Marilyn's tools is "radical-baiting". Despite their ability in bossing children around, teachers are actually pretty afraid to stand up for their own rights. We're not used to it, it takes time to develop that confidence. A good organizer won't frighten such teachers off by presenting themselves as a raving lunatic. But with knowledge in hand, it is hard to not have passion. Unless they detect some of that passion from you, most teachers won't really be won over.

December 21, 2009 at 10:35 AM

By: Jay Rehak

Union Power is collective action


Sorry to have lost your vote, but I honestly don't think you're getting my point. I agree in substance with what you say, but disagree in the form your argument takes. Name calling doesn't work as a "calling out" strategy. It makes the name caller look weak and gives the opposition an excuse not to listen to legitimate arguments.

I understand the urgency of the situation, but the army needs to be organized before the enemy is effectively engaged. Rosa Parks didn't just randomly sit down on the bus and refuse to get up. She was polite but resolute to her aggressor, and the actions she took were quite premeditated by a group of people who knew the stakes and knew her "going off" on her oppressor would only give the oppressor an excuse for violating her civil rights.. Had Ms. Parks called the bus driver an %3#! er or anything else, her victimization would have been "excused" by a great number of people whom the movement needed to move. She'd have been arrested for "disrespecting" the bus driver, rather than having made the point that by enforcing racist laws, he was abusing her. You're a smart guy and should know this. The key to an effective strategy for winning elections and changing minds is through organization first, concerted, well planned action second. (See Garth above)

As to your PS, I am not interested in disrupting the election. Everything I have done to earn the trust of the membership has been done openly, honestly and with a sense of respect for what Unionism means and can provide.(group, not "solo" power!) Haji works with the UPC, and works in the shadows. I am with CORE, working, speaking, writing in the light. When I write on these educational blogs, I sign my full name. Vote for me or not, you know where I stand.

Jay Rehak

December 21, 2009 at 6:07 PM

By: kugler

IELRB and action

you joining the IELRB jay?

and post to first class that huberman's memo violates our rights to organize and have representative elections free of coercion.

then sign as a representative of CORE and union delegate just like Rosa Parks took action then we too need to take action. a delegate from a school like young getting reprimanded or disciplined would be a good case to start attacking the union and board on their illegal election and union tampering.

John Kugler

December 21, 2009 at 7:00 PM

By: Retired Principal

Jay & George

Jay & George, keep up the good work! We need both of you guys speaking out in your own ways!

December 22, 2009 at 3:34 AM

By: Jones


Well, it seems like Garth is the only one here who has any idea of the political process.

Jay, maybe a handful of members would listen to a dispassionate debate, but they would then most likely be dispassionate in telling others. We all know you jumped on the core bandwagon and expect them to slate you for president. Maybe they will maybe they won't. Maybe core and pact will get together and help each other really organize, but i won't hold my breath. after all, some people actually thought that the democrats and republicans would learn to work together for the common good. Ha!

"if you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it.' (more or less)

the only way the current CTU can be ousted is for their critics to get every member they know to activly organize at every school. But if the opposition is divided and unwilling to work together the upc will reign forever.

December 22, 2009 at 10:28 AM

By: Jay Rehak



Your IELRB complaint is a perfect example of tactical decision making. You file an IELRB complaint then ask others to join, more or less calling people names if they don't.

Will I join your complaint? My answer is this: let me see it, and if it is written in a way that the issue is well articulated, the answer is yes. Will I commit to signing it before seeing it? No. Why not? Because I'm not interested in tying myself to a poorly written, ineffective IELRB complaint. Is it poorly written? I don't know. Who wrote it? Who reviewed it? Who made sure it had the best chance of seeing the light of day? Why does all that matter? Because if there are mistakes on the IELRB complaint, it will be tossed out as so much amateurism. Why do I care? Should I just be happy that you took action and that I was part of an IELRB complaint that went nowhere because it might possibly have been written poorly? You tell me.

On the other hand, here's how it could have/should have been done. You present to the leadership of CORE/PACT/CSDU other interested parties an effective draft of an IELRB complaint, have it be reviewed, then invite all the groups to post it on one/all of the websites, and encourage everyone to sign on. Then, CORE/PACT/CSDU leaders and others can get in front of the issue, joining you and making a more powerful statement to the IELRB and others.

In that way, it is no longer an individual, "Kugler" issue, but an issue of the membership. You could have made it a UNIFYING opportunity for groups to sign on to (See "Jones" above.)

But you acted first, then threatened others to join. Your way does not lead to UNIONISM, or group action. It actually mitigates against it. Because now, people who might have otherwise participated say, "Kugler's already done it." and whether or not people like "Kugler" or they don't often determines who might also join the IELRB. Additionally, doing it as you did, "ownerhip" of the issue and complaint is limited, so others don't feel invested in the result.

Yours is a form of leadership, but it puts ego ahead of collective interest. It says "I know best" and everyone else who doesn't agree is an #$^!. So maybe you're right about the issue, but you've limited its effectiveness.

So here's an idea: post the IELRB complaint on CORE's website AND OTHERS. Tell people how they can specifically join the complaint. INVITE others to participate rather than call them out if they don't. (Some may not out of fear; don't mock them, they may come along later. They also may have fears/realities you have no conception of) The goal is to have as many people on the complaint as possible, not the "bold few" who are willing to take a stand.

I am not at the head of the CORE ticket at this point. I believe that if I am given the nod by the membership, we will discuss COLLECTIVE, more POWERFUL actions. That is how UNIONISM is supposed to work. Build the army before going off to war. Build a spirit of community through an attempt at buy in before action.

You'd have it work the other way, which is to stand out and then have the membership react, somehow hoping that the collective Union will respond in outrage at your victimization. If we had a strong union, that would work. You and I wishing for it doesn't change the fact that we don't, at this time, have a strong Union. The UNION is in pieces right now. It has to be rebuilt to be effective. You think "heroic" individual actions will help do that; I think it takes effective communal responses. In my view, you build the army first, then move on to heroic actions, not the other way around.

It's slower, but the best way to fight.

As to "Jones"

I joined CORE because they were right about fighting school closings, and they took on that issue understanding that it is the fundamental issue regarding Chicago Public Schools and CTU members. The CORE group took the issue on headfirst and in the light, which is to say, they didn't just snipe at President Stewart, but they acted and continue to act. (Come to Malcolm X on January 9th 2010)

I am running to be the CORE Presidential candidate because I think I am the best qualified, based on my experience, perspective and insights.

If Karen is chosen as our nominee, I will work as hard as I can for her. I have said this many times, in every forum I have spoken; Karen is a highly qualified candidate, and my goal is to return the Union back to people who understand the value and power of UNIONISM.

The UPC is steering the UNION on a course of future irrelevance. We can't keep having schools get closed and not do more to rouse the membership and community to action. In my view, the continued privitazion of our schools is the equivalent of the parking meterization of our streets. When we give away the public trust, where is the accountability?

Whether it's Karen or me, CORE will need to continue to reach out to all of the members of all of the caucuses (Including members of PACT, CSDU, Seacaucus, and the UPC) and any unaligned individual. CORE cannot win without the support of others, just as our struggle over privatization cannot be won by one group. It will take a collective effort.

IF I am chosen as the CORE Presidential Nominee, I will reach out to every caucus and try to get them to work collectively to take back and rebuild the Union. Anyone within CORE knows I have taken a very clear position on our need (and specific ways) to include others as we move forward. Not everyone in CORE has agreed with me, but everyone knows where I stand.

Everyone who knows me or who has worked with me knows that I believe in building coalitions. Those who hope the caucuses can get together know that I share that view and will work towards achieving it.

Everything I have written and everything I have been criticized for points to the fact that my interest is in building back the UNION army, not the CORE army or Jay Rehak army. Because in the end, our power is in collective action.

December 22, 2009 at 8:08 PM

By: kugler

thanks jay

i understand.

john kugler

December 23, 2009 at 2:15 AM

By: Zeta


I hope this debate has brought you closer together. I know that the two of you are very passionate about what you are doing. We need you both and you know it.

Let's stay focused!

December 23, 2009 at 5:03 AM

By: Al Korach


From the blogs posted it seems we have already divided ourselves before the May elections.I feel that Jay has made his first tactical misstake. If you want a leadership role you have to understand the rank & file. When the students are busy beating the crap out of each other the rank and file do not wish to be inundated with piles of verbose BS. If you read Union history you will find that the boss is not that nice well meaning person. His main goal is to protact his large salary and great pension and those of his friends. If you treat the next union election like you are talking to a college class you will spend a lot of money and end up where you started. (in debt)Jay if you plan to run for office you are alredy writing to much and too passively. I feel that the next CTU president will need some of Jay and a lot of Kugler to win. The rank and file is not a happy group or are the retirees. The retirees see that the CTU has hired back former CTU UPC members earning their pensions and $100,000 more in salary. They have given scabs (positions)in the CTU. I feel that any further bloging on this issue at this time will only further divide us at this time. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 23, 2009 at 8:44 AM

By: Retired Principal


Al, Marilyn Stewart and the CTU are not really concerned about our pensions! The CPAA and RTAC are trying to get Marilyn and the CTU lobbyist more involved in the pension fight that is ongoing in Springfield. Sad but True!

December 23, 2009 at 1:37 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher and long time union activist

I was active in the Union from 1972 when I first joined until I retired three and a half years ago. Under a different leadership, I might have stayed active but Marilyn doesn't encourage involvement. I am encouraged when I read/see people like Jay, John, Zeta and others speaking up and taking an active role in trying to make changes. For awhile I was beginning to think that the Union would be distroyed but now I believe it has a real chance especially if people can come together.

The attack on our pensions without Union protest is just one more example of Marilyn's betrayal of the rank and file.

Season's Greetings and Happy New Year's to everyone. Hopefully it will be a much better year for all of us.

December 23, 2009 at 8:41 PM

By: zeta

One Caucus

Now that we have aired our feelings and have two strong leaders who both need to run for union office.

Jay you are very rational in a powerful way and have an understanding of what it would take to deal with those in a position of power at CPS. You are clever , wise and have important information to share.

If the two of you along with Karen can come to some consensus, we can win this election.

Kugler, I love your tenacity and persistence. You have valid points and have the guts to speak for so many of us that have been disenfranchised. I love the fact that you are not afraid to speak out and up to anyone that threatens your livelihood and the livelihood of teachers. If you were running as one of the officers it would make our slate much stronger.

Just imagine if Kugler was at the union fighting for us!

The debate here has only let us see the talent and dedication that both of you have.

Your styles are different but you represent the attitudes of many who work in the system.

John has worked at our inner city schools so he speaks from a perspective of anger because he knows the dichotomy and the savage inequalities that exist.

Jay has work at one of the best CPS Schools in Chicago. He speaks from that perspective. He knows and has experienced a better teaching situation so he has kind of lived a charmed career. That's O.K. because we should all be working at a Whitney Young type school.

Both arguments are valid and both points of view acceptable, now LET ‘S GET BUSY!

I hope that this conversation can lead to adding John to the slate. We need his fire and conviction.

January 5, 2010 at 1:50 PM

By: kugler

Stupid and Scared

Letter #3

Is it a coincidence that both corrupt leaders are threatening union members and trying to influence a union election?

How stupid they both are they even put it on paper and distribute it system wide. Now is easy to see how scared they are of the union memebrs first taking back the union and then taking back the rights of union members to work in a safe harassment free environment without fear of loosing their jobs after 20 years to the whims of some politically appointed hack administrator that has no education credentials or experience.


No School Meet-And-Greets Until March, Says Union Prez


CTU President continues to destroy union democracy, works with Ron Huberman and Mayor Daley to build largest company union in Illinois


Huberman Warns Staffers To Stay Out Of Union Campaign.

Or is it just my imagination?

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