CTU Presidential candidates debate before House of Delegates on April 7, 2010

On a dark, cold, and windy evening, the beginning of what may prove to be the most significant political battle in Chicago over the next few months began in earnest at the headquarters of Local 399 of the Operating Engineers Union alongside Chicago's sanitary canal on April 7, 2010. Five public school teachers — four women and one man — were launching the campaign for the union presidency in what will be the most hotly contested election in the union's 78 year history.

The five certified candidates for president of the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union engaged in an 84-minute debate in front of more than 500 delegates from the city's more than 600 public schools.

Earlier, the delegates had received word that five of the six announced candidates for union president in the May 21, 2010 union elections had cleared the first hurdle by qualifying with nominating petitions to run.

The candidates for president of the union are (in alphabetical order):

Ted Hajiharis (School Employee Alliance Caucus)

Karen Lewis (Caucus of Rank and File Educators, CORE)

Deborah Lynch (Pro Active Chicago Teachers and school employees, PACT)

Linda Porter (Caucus for a Strong Democratic Union, CSDU)

Marilyn Stewart (United Progressive Caucus, UPS).

Marilyn Stewart is the incumbent, having been elected to two terms beginning in 2001.

Deborah Lynch served as union president between 2001 and 2004, when she was defeated by Marilyn Stewart in the closest election in union history.

Ted Hajirharis is a union field rep who is currently on leave.

Karen Lewis teaches at King College Prep High School.

Linda Porter is CTU Treasurer who broke with Stewart following the union's 2007 election and the 2007 contract.

The candidates drew lots for debate and ballot position. Deborah Lynch was first, followed by Ted Hajiharis, followed by Marilyn Stewart, followed by Linda Porter, with Karen Lewis last.



April 8, 2010 at 2:36 PM

By: Garth Liebhaber


George, going from your experience, how much would you say ballot position matters? I've been lead to believe it might matter more than it does. I'm just curious on this point. Thanks.

April 8, 2010 at 10:35 PM

By: Jay Rehak

Ballot Position = 10%

My understanding is that being placed first on a ballot = 10% of an advantage. A fair election rotates the first position in equal amounts. That's what happens for Pension Elections. If I am first on one ballot, I'd be second on the next ballot. Etc.

That's the only way to ensure fairness.

April 18, 2010 at 2:20 PM

By: Danny

Marilyn says Charters not our enemy

At the April 7 House of Delegates meeting Marilyn Stewart claimed that charter schools do NOT (emphasis mine) take away our students or jobs.

"You stop charter schools by organizing them," she said, in reference to the news that Aspira charter schools had recently voted to organize.

Certainly, charter schools DO take away students from traditional public schools, and thus cost us jobs. Even when they become unionized, they don't become part of our Union, so it also takes away CTU members.

I'm rather surprised no one has picked up on this, yet.

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