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MEDIA WATCH: After winning the biggest First Amendment victory for teachers in years, Deborah Lynch continues to try and get accurate reporting on major teacher rights story

Gage Park High School teacher (and former CTU President) Deborah Lynch continued to try and get some accuracy in the news reporting on the important case entitled 'Lynch vs. Huberman' that was decided in favor of teachers by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve on March 26, 2010. Although reporters for the major media in Chicago covered a press conference held at the offices of the attorneys who represented Lynch in the case on March 22, no coverage has been forthcoming, even after Judge St. Eve issued here stunning decision, holding that the chief executive of the nation's third largest school district was guilty of violating the First Amendment rights of teachers.

Your March 16 article “Huberman suspends union campaign at Chicago schools” rightfully pointed out that CPS CEO Ron Huberman’s ban on union election meetings and dissemination of campaign literature in schools was indeed a suspension, a total suspension, of the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) election campaign. It was also, according to U.S. District Court Judge Amy. St. Eves, a violation of union members’ first amendment rights and she granted an injunction sought, not by the CTU administration, but by a group of teachers and staff who refused to accept this blatant violation of our constitutional fisrt amendment rights. Nine weeks before the May 21 CTU election, Mr. Huberman ordered this ban. He ordered all CPS principals to punish and discipline any Board employee who organized or even attended a meeting on school property, before or after school hours, to discuss candidates or disseminate campaign literature. His orders barred all but the incumbent CTU candidate. Under this ban, everyone had a right to speak in CPS schools except employees running for office to represent union members in dealing with management. At a time when Mr. Huberman was trying to scare CPS employees into thinking they were going to lose their jobs, he was also trying to scare them into silence.

In Lynch v. Huberman, the plaintiffs (Deborah Lynch, Josephine Perry, and other members of PACT (ProActive Chicago Teachers & School Employees, a caucus of the CTU)) also discovered that Mr. Huberman issued this unprecedented ban, in part, according to the Board’s response to the judge because of complaints “from CTU officials…asking that controls be put in place by the Board.” The CTU administration had earlier tried to impose its own ban and suspension of the campaign, but were forced to issue a retraction after a legal challenge from these same Huberman plaintiffs. We know historically whenever management does interfere in a union election, it benefits the incumbents.

Mr. Huberman thought he could interfere in our union election and trample on employees’ rights of free speech, but he thought wrong. He was forced to issue his own retraction to all CPS administrators lifting his ban and did so on Friday, April 2. All slates and candidates for the May 21 CTU election can now resume their campaign efforts to get their positions and platforms out to CTU members so that they might make an informed decision on May 21. We successfully won a temporary restraining order and an injunction. The case continues and we are pressing for a permanent injunction.

Mr. Huberman will not break our union. Even if our union administration won’t, the members of the union will stand up and fight. And in Lynch v. Huberman, the score to date is Lynch 1, Huberman 0. Deborah Lynch

Teacher and CTU Delegate, Gage Park High School

PAST CTU President

Chair, PACT (ProActive Chicago Teachers & School Employees)

312-890-7713



Comments:

April 7, 2010 at 10:42 PM

By: kugler

more news about collusion

i am working on a new story that will document how the union not only colluded with cps to work against it members but ignored complaints form union members to file grievances regarding the huberman illegal activities. the story will also include what the affliates knew and what actions they did(not) take to protect our rights.

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