CSDU Files ULP Against CTU

According to a recent press release from the Caucus for a Strong Democratic Union (CSDU), the group has filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. The complaint follows two letters by Marilyn Stewart trying to restrict the rights of union members to distribute literature and campaign for union office in the schools. The complaint is challenging the same Stewart policies that have been challenged by the lawyer letter sent to Stewart from PACT.

CSDU officer candidates Lisa Dimberg and Linda Porter at the November 10, 2009, Substance Second City benefit. As of January 10, 2010, CSDU still had not decided which of its five candidates would remain on their slate following Marilyn Stewart's success in the referendum reducing the number of union officers from five to four. Linda Porter is the first sitting CTU officer to break with the elected leadership and challenge the union president. CSDU expects to keep Porter as its candidate for CTU president. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.The press release states:

"In the wake of a letter sent by CTU President Marilyn Stewart to CPS principals, the CSDU has filed a complaint with the IELRB. The Stewart letter asks the principals NOT to allow school meetings by CTU caucuses until the middle of March. The Unfair Labor Practice complaint maintains that the CTU is colluding with the CPS administration to influence the outcome of the upcoming CTU Officer May election. This action is also grievable under Art 1-17 of the current agreement, which states:

"Art.1-17. On twenty-four hours’ notice to the principal of the school, the UNION shall have

the right to schedule meetings in the building before or after regular duty hours and

during lunch time of teachers or other bargaining unit members involved in matters

concerning their employment, the provisions of this Agreement and for the conduct of

UNION business, provided said meetings do not interfere with an in-service or general

faculty meeting previously scheduled and posted prior to the twenty-four-hour

notification given to the principal by the UNION.

A previous incursion into member rights took place when Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman (at the request of the CTU) sent a letter to principals stating that members are not allowed to use school mail boxes or the CPS email system. The Chicago Teachers Union sends emails through the CPS system regularly. A ULP has been filed against the CPS also for unduly trying to influence the outcome of the election.

Since Stewart has no jurisdiction over principals, it is doubtful that principals will adhere to Stewart's request. If delegates and members are prevented from holding union meetings that are scheduled either before or after regular school hours, a grievance should be filed under Art. 1-17.

For up-to-date information go to:


January 10, 2010 at 9:55 AM


retired teacher

As a retired teacher and past Executive Board member, I'm delighted to see that we are finnally going to get some action insteasd of the continuous "Stewart did this" and "Stewart did that". It's about time that we should find out what the head of the CTU is doing is according to the rules or not.

The only problem with going "legal" is that the union's attorney could with appeals drag a decision out past the May election.

January 10, 2010 at 10:31 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

'Going legal' is necessary, but never the best option

As Al Korach notes, "going legal" is virtually never the best option, but it is sometimes the only one when people are politically weak and divided. And that's the reality right now, despite some good signs.

As of today (January 10), however, we have two legal challenges to Stewart's attacks on the rights of teacher union members by joining with the boss (Ron Huberman) and some of the bosses (the principals) against teachers' (and other workers in the schools) rights of speech and assembly. (If they mess with Substance again we'll have to return and remind them about "press"). All this could be resolved, without additional cost to the union, if by Wednesday (the next House of Delegates meeting) Marilyn Stewart writes to both Huberman and the principals saying it was all a misunderstanding and they should ignore her letters of December 14 (Huberman) and January 4 (principals).

That would also save the union money, which she's been claiming she's trying to do. Claiming, because she says she's "saving" money while wasting millions of dollars on fruitless legal cases (Ted Dallas' firing; the lawsuit trying to deny me my pay; the attempt to fire Linda Porter; now this -- Marilyn's wasted over a million dollars on these things in the past four years!)...

One of the things that's noteworthy about these two litigations (CSDU before the IELRB; PACT and Debbie Lynch in federal court if necessary) is that both are coming from proven fights.

Linda Porter a year ago told Marilyn to buzz off when Marilyn delivered (at great expense) a lawyer letter to Linda saying she should resign as treasurer "or else." When Linda said "no way" the "or else" disappeared (only to reappear in the form of that stupid referendum to abolish the Treasurer's office).

Debbie Lynch and Matt Piers (the lawyer who is working with PACT on stopping Marilyn's illegal suppression of teacher First Amendment rights) have been at this nearly ten years. Matt has won some big one, and Debbie doesn't back down either.

The first time Matt Piers was in court was years before Debbie won the presidency, on the issue of voting rights and reporting the results school-by-school. I remember how the first time around (more than a decade ago), CTU (then under Reece) "won" a gag order on the 1998-1999 contract referendum school-by-school votes. The votes were released to Debbie and five other union members as a result of a court order (we had done our own survey and proved -- and reported in a page one Substance story in January - February 1999 that the "No" votes had won), but the school by school results were kept secret. So Debbie and PACT went back and got that accomplished through a change in the by-laws (which Marilyn half-repealed with those stupid referendum issues in November 2009).

There is another case in court which I'll report soon.

But what people need to know is that sometimes it's necessary to have the lawyers go to court, although it's better to win the fights politically without that. Marilyn Stewart, however, chose to make herself a national punch line by lining up with the BOSS -- first Huberman, then the principals -- against the teachers. That's now part of her dubious "legacy" forever. But considering she also gave the USA Arne Duncan (anyone who thinks Obama could have pushed the Chicago Plan and the Chicago Boys on the USA without Marilyn Stewart and Randi Weingarten's lies isn't paying attention) and "Race to the Top", a couple of slaps in the face to her own members at this point in history won't add much to her disgraceful legacy of greed, corruption, and collaboration with the bosses against her own members.

January 10, 2010 at 12:12 PM



George! Good explanation of the legal process involved. Many people have asked me as to why does the CTU get involved with legal cases that they loose at great expense? I replied possibly to bleed them at great financial cost. The CTU reminds me of a client that asked her attorney to file a suit that the sun will not come up tomorrow. The attorney replied, "I think you have a bad case but I'll take it anyway." When the CTU gets legally involved with the CTU's attorneys they get paid with your dues money. (even if the sun does not come up tomorrow)

January 10, 2010 at 1:31 PM

By: Jay Rehak

CTU Delegates need to assert their authority

It is important that the CTU membership understand the legal option works best if it is coupled with the more powerful option of collective resistance and vocal opposition to the limiting of members' rights.

It is also important that Members of the House of Delegates recognize that they are a key component of the "checks and balances" of the CTU President's power. We cannot simply ask the courts to do our work.

Thus, while the CSDU legal tactic of filing an Unfair Labor Practice is well and good as far as it goes, it should be seen as the first "easy step" in a larger collective effort on the part of CTU members to regain the full rights that President Stewart and Ron Huberman are trying to limit.

This two pronged approach is the result of the "wheels of justice" grinding slowly. While most members would like the issue resolved quickly, it will be deliberately dragged out in the courts for as long as possible by the UPC and the CTU lawyers who want President Stewart to remain in office.

One of the primary responsibilities of House of Delegate members, as leaders within the CTU, is to challenge any misguided attempt by any CTU President to violate any member's ability to meet and organize. Just as we should support the President of the Union when she is right, we must challenge her with full throated voice when she is wrong.

So while the case wends its way through the courts, I hope CTU delegates will join together to help the President see the error of her ways.

January 10, 2010 at 1:51 PM

By: kugler

Do It - HoD

jay it is now time to stand up in the house and take action.

i agree the legal action should be the last resort but the membership is too frightened to fight the violations of their labor rights from their own union. There needs to be more resistance on the ground rather than talking, but in the end if legal means are necessary then so be it.

January 10, 2010 at 5:07 PM

By: About Time!

Legal Action

Speaking of legal action, two veteran African-American former CPS teachers have filed federal race and age discrimination lawsuits against the Board within the last two weeks.

January 24, 2010 at 5:54 PM

By: John Moran

CSDU Social Event

Join Us For A CSDU Fund Raiser

Buddy Guy’s Legends

A Night of Music, Fun and Solidarity!!!

Appetizers 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Blues Music Main Act starts at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday February 11, 2010

(Day Before Lincoln’s Birthday Holiday)

754 S. Wabash

$45.00 per person

For Tickets, Call: 630-479-6673

January 24, 2010 at 5:55 PM

By: John Moran

CSDU Meeting

Coalition for a Strong Democratic Union

Slating / General Meeting

Tuesday January 26, 2010 4:30 p.m.

Pulaski Park 1419 West Blackhawk Street

January 25, 2010 at 1:52 AM

By: Zeta

CSDU Fundraiser

I know the caucuses are about the business of raising money, however, many displaced teachers

would probably like to attend. Many of them cannot afford the $45.00 cost. Any suggestions?

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