Marilyn Stewart running for third term... 2010 is her first time running without Ted Dallas, Linda Porter... UPC slates candidates for May 21 CTU election

The United Progressive Caucus (UPC) slated its candidates and has announced them publicly on a relatively new Web site, leaving only one of the six caucuses currently contending for the leadership of the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union without a presidential candidate. The number of candidates in the race, which doesn't even begin until nominating petitions are circulated starting February 19, is unprecedented in the 75-year history of the union, which was once one of the most powerful in Illinois.

Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart talks to the more than 400 pickets outside Chicago Board of Education headquarters on February 10, 2010. Contrary to what some believed, the union's United Progressive Caucus (UPC) had slated Stewart to run for a third term as union president at its meeting on January 29, 2010. Substance photo by Garth Liebhaber.The UPC candidates were announced on the second day of the hearings on the latest round of Chicago school closings, phase outs, consolidations, and turnarounds, January 29, and were generally ignored by most of the media. UPC refuses to talk with reporters from Substance, so the information for this report comes from anonymous sources within the UPC and information provided by the new UPC Web site (

Prosser High School teacher Keith Vander Meulen (above right) has been slated by the United Progressive Caucus (UPC) of the Chicago Teachers Union to run for Financial Secretary, the post currently held by Mark Ochoa. Ochoa is slated to run for Vice President of the 30,000 member union by the caucus headed by CTU President Marilyn Stewart. Above, Vander Meulen marched with more than 400 teachers and others in opposition to the 2010 Hit List on February 10, 2010 at CPS headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. in Chicago. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.According to the UPC, Marilyn Stewart will run for the office of president. Current Financial Secretary Mark Ochoa will run for vice president. Mary Orr, an elementary teacher, will run for the office of recording secretary. Keith Vander Meulen, a high school teacher, will run for the office of financial secretary.


February 14, 2010 at 11:58 PM

By: john Moran


With less than 14 weeks to the CTU Election, now is the time for everyone to become active in the campaign. The Chicago Teachers Union is at a crossroads. We will decide on May 21st what will be the future direction of both our union and our careers. Will it be a union that stands up and defends it’s members from further abuse or will it be a union that continues to let the Board of Education do what ever it wants to the Teaches and PSRPs?

This is not the time to be complacent and think that you are safe or protected. Everyone is under attack. The strength and power of the Chicago Teachers Union has always been, and will always be, it’s members. Everything that we have accomplished has been a result of the CTU Members standing up with each other and saying “NO” to whatever abuse was happening at the time. Now is the time to stand be counted as a proud and strong CTU Member.

What the UPC and CPS want you to forget about are all the abuses that have happened over the last two years. That Top 10 List includes: 1. The expanded closing of schools. 2. Thousands of Teachers and PSRPS displaced from their jobs. 3. Hundreds of Teachers and PSRPS “fired.” 4. An increase in the number of Charter Schools. 5. Schools being placed on the Track E Schedule without their consultation and approval. 6. Arbitrary change of Pay Dates. 7. In correct Pay Checks. 8. Increase in Co-pays for Doctor Office Visits, Hospital Visits, and Prescription Drugs. 9. President Stewart refused to file grievances on behalf of the CTU Members. And 10. Retirees still receiving a reduced Pension Check up to 3 year after retirement. This is a Top 10 List for which both the UPC and CPS can take credit.

The Coalition for a Strong Democratic Union (CSDU) can and will do better. Our platform states that we will fight for: 1. Contractual job protection for all employees. 2. PSRP contractual parity with teachers. 3. One Preparation Period per day for Elementary Teachers. 4. Arbitration rights for all disciplinary action. 5. Pension protection through legislation. 6. Stop the privatization of schools. And 7. Professional salaries. Above all, we will demand respect. We vow that we will fight and never give up on these issues, which we think are the most important to our members.

Now is the time to join with the CSDU and create a future where we are all treated as professionals. This is the time to create an atmosphere free from intimidation and discrimination, assured of job security, and to derive satisfaction from earnings and working conditions. It definitely is the time to stand up with pride once again as a CTU Member. Visit the CSDU Web Site and join us in our campaign to bring the pride back to the CTU. Finally, vote on May 21, 2010 for Linda Porter-President, Jack Moran-Vice President, Lisa Dimberg-Recording Secretary and Jose “Jay” Jimenez-Financial Secretary.

February 15, 2010 at 3:31 AM

By: MCasey


with all due respect but isn't the CSDU the old UPC that Marilyn thru out?

Why on earth would I vote in the old crooks that the new crooks thru out?

It would be good if George would show us all the candidates from all the caucuses.

I know about CORE, they have been very active but are having some infighting and don't have a full slate. they do have a very high opinion of themselves. they offer a lot of hope, but as a wise old teacher once said, "hope is not s plan." I also haven't seen anything about bread and butter issues.

I know about PACT, Debby Lynch does have an experienced team who did a pretty good job but made a few mistakes and have been trashed by Marilyn and the UPC and now CORE for years. Are a lot of CORE old PACT who couldn't get all their special interests with Lynch so they made a new group?

Then there's the UPC crooks and the old UPC-CSDU crooks. That's 4, who else?

Looks like the campaign is going to be ugly. I hate politics!

February 15, 2010 at 6:18 AM



It looks like what I wrote about is happening. We are no longer writing about Marilyn did this and Marilyn did that. We are now into this caucus did this and that caucus did that.I'm afraid we have started fighting among ourselves instead of concentrating on one objective. The UPC has a large bankroll and a caucus leadership that will do anything to protect their high salaries, great insurance, autos and pensions. I feel that it's to late for any consolidation of caucuses. I think that if the opposition is lucky they will attain a runoff. (UNLESS THEY END UP KILLING EACH OTHER OFF BEFORE THE ELECTION.)

February 15, 2010 at 6:20 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

All the candidates, all the caucuses?

We're planning on covering the latest on all the candidates and all the caucuses on Friday (February 19) when the candidates can pick up their nominating petitions at CTU headquarters. That's just as we were planning to cover each of the hearings on the 2010 Hit List before the events (and did, at least the 14 hearings that were held at 125 S. Clark St.). Planning something is always interesting, but doesn't mean we can do it. And it's worth reminding our readers that important events evolve in their complexity.

As we've reported, CORE doesn't have a candidate for vice president right now (they're in the process of selecting one); and PACT recently revised its slate. The SEA caucus hasn't announced its full slate yet, and it's unclear whether the "Independent" caucus will have a full slate.

Basically, from what our reporters have been able to tell, as of Valentine's Day 2010, only UPC and PACT seemed to have a full slate, with CSDU saying they do, but without detailed updates on their Web site.

To be fair to the caucuses as well as to our readers, the confusion is reasonable. When the members of the CTU voted two months ago to reduce the number of top officers in CTU from five to four (eliminating the office of Treasurer), what we had reported about three of the caucuses became outdated. UPC had not slated by then, and only announced its slate on January 29, 2010, following the meeting and event that is now the big news on their Web site (

PACT quickly adjusted its candidates for the remaining four top positions.

CORE got tangled up in the question of the eligibility fight over its first candidate for vice president. By the time CORE is finished with its nominating process, they'll have rivaled the Democratic Party in the length of time it took them to come up with their full slate (August 2009, when they held their first "convention" into February 2010, when they finally decided on their final candidate for vice president). We've been covering a lot of that.

CSDU revised its top five to its top four, but as of the last time we had information, the rest of the slate was still in process.

SEA? Nothing yet. They haven't even announced who their presidential candidate will be (although close observers have a huge hunch).

Independent? Little information yet. They have a candidate for President. We eagerly awaited the words she would speak at the most recent Board of Education meeting, and at one or two of the school closing hearings, but, so far, mum's been the word.

So this is where things stand as of a week before the nominating petitions are ready to begin circulation.

As everyone familiar with CTU elections knows, until the caucuses actually get the required number of signatures on the nominating petitions, there are no "candidates" — only, we might say, "hopefuls."

To share an example that everyone reading this has just experienced: The Democratic Party. Three years ago (July 2007), Substance covered "Yearly Kos" convention, which was held in Chicago at McCormick Place. Substance covered that event mainly from the point of view of various pieces of school news (and the growing opposition to No Child Left Behind).

At that time (six months before the first primary — the Iowa caucuses) there were eight or nine "hopefuls" in the race for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Joe Biden was one. Mike Gravel was another. Names like Richardson, Edwards, Dodd — and Obama and Clinton — were there (and we covered their accessibility).

A year after that (July 2008, by the time of the American Federation of Teachers convention) there was one. One of the others (named Clinton) appeared at the AFT convention and showed great respect for the teachers and our union, while the main one (Obama) was at the convention hotel (one night for a fundraiser) but lied to the convention and told people he had a "schedule conflict" and had to speak to them via satellite from San Diego (where he discovered that the "National Council of La Raza" was more important for him than the national teachers union). As we reported at the time, it was a bit more complicated than that, since he was at the Hyatt hotel during the teachers' convention for a fundraiser, but avoided the teachers, then made it clear that the San Diego event was more important than the AFT convention, even though AFT (along with the other AFL-CIO unions) had helped secure him the nomination (and, later, the general election) by providing many of the ground troops necessary. Those are facts of history, which we reported in various ways at the time.

By July 2008, when the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers met, Barack Obama was clearly the Democratic Party nominee, and few people remembered that one year earlier guys like Richardson, Dodd, Edwards, and Gravel had a "chance." Election news is complicated and infinitely interesting. Accuracy (at the time of reporting) is about the best we'll get.

We didn't cover the 2008 national elections in great detail, except as they linked to Chicago and education news. (Substance staff included supporters of the two main candidates, as well as a couple of independents who predicted the subsequent disappointment).

Now the big election news for most of our readers will probably be Chicago Teachers Union news. (Quick: We just voted in some local elections. Who were the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Illinois? All of them. Next: for Senator. All of them. Etc.).

Between now and the CTU election, which will be held on May 21, 2010, our reporters will be trying to be accurate as this thing unfolds here in Chicago, but unlike Democratic Party between July 2007 and July 2008, the Chicago Teachers Union doesn't have "candidates" until, at the earliest, the caucuses (or individual hopefuls) turn in their nominating petitions. That process will not be final until March 23, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. (according to the rules accepted by the House of Delegates at the January House meeting).

In order to make our coverage as accurate as possible, I'm planning to ask each caucus to give us a complete copy of each of their nominating petitions so I can check some things (like the spelling of names). Here's why. If all six caucuses compile a "full slate" for all offices that will be voted on on May 21, 2010, there will be a total of 1,050 candidates on the ballot(s) when members of the Chicago Teachers Union show up to vote that day, mostly at their schools. We're going to assume that each caucus gets the spelling of each candidate's name accurately on their nominating petitions and use that as the definitive spelling through the election (even though the sample ballots won't be out until around May 14, 2010). A bit tedious, you might say? True. But consider this. In May 2001, the members of the Chicago Teachers Union voted to election Deborah Walsh (or Lynch- Walsh) President of the CTU. By a year later, she was Deborah Lynch. Of such realities are accurate histories made.

Now that UPC is up and running, every caucus has a Web site. We'll be covering as much as possible, and we're trying to have a different reporter cover each of the caucuses as this thing unfolds. What was accurate three months ago, when three of the caucuses thought they had "all" of their candidates (five offices) became inaccurate by two months ago, when the number of officer candidates was reduced from five to four. Etc.

Thanks for asking.

February 16, 2010 at 10:13 PM

By: Pamela Touras


If you are interested in the bread and butter issues, check out the School Employee Alliance's(S.E.A) website at

February 18, 2010 at 1:54 AM

By: MCasey


I looked at the SEA site and was not impressed. First the leader is another disgruntled UPCer.

Second using the PAT/FTB clause is just reworking the spin Stewart did years ago.

I’ve been teaching for more than 2 years so I and many colleagues actually experienced life as an Full Time Basis substitute and believe me, we welcomes this contract provision. One friend had been an FTB for 15 years, not earning one minute toward tenure. I was an FTB for 6 years until a principal finally ‘assigned’ me to the position I had been teaching for 5 years. Then I had another 3 years before tenure. At any time I could have been ‘bumped’ by a first year teacher. The CTU was trying to get rid of FTB status as far back as Healy. He said “being an FTB is playing Russian Roulette with your career.” He was right. Principals had the power to force FTB into any position and intimidated them into taking extra students in their classes, teaching extra classes, duties, coaching, etc because if they didn’t they be gone. If you were certified in English or History (where there was a surplus of teachers) being an FTB was the only way to get a position and if you had good principal you’d get assigned if not it was hell.

With this contract thousands of FTBs finally got assigned and are now tenured. Sure principal could ‘click off’ someone but they could do that before. No the ‘Probationary Period’ is three years (like the rest of Illinois) not endless like it was for FTBs.

As far as the ‘Legislative Partnership’ clause I think is meant for all sides to come up with a plan agreeable for both CTU and CPS. It’s called negotiation; Lynch had about 6 months and Stewart 6 years during the time Hajiharis was working for Stewart.

Just rehashing convoluted spin doesn’t show leadership.

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