Union Members Excluded from Union Meeting: Stewart Violates Union Members' Rights — Again — by ejecting two CTU members from April 12 Hyde Park meeting

QUESTION: When is a member of the Chicago Teachers Union not a member of the Chicago Teachers Union? ANSWER: When the union's president Marilyn Stewart is holding an election campaign meeting at a school and pretending she is just there on "official union business."

On April 12, 2010, Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart and her aides refused to allow union members from other schools to attend a union meeting at Hyde Park High School that Stewart hosted as union president. But Hyde Park teachers later reported that the Stewart meeting amounted to a campaign rally to support the candidacy of Marilyn Stewart and her "United Progressive Caucus" in the May 21 CTU election. Lois Ashford, an elementary teacher, pension trustee, and member of CORE was escorted out of the building, barred from attending a meeting of the union she has been a member of for more than 20 years.

Displaced teacher Michael Brunson (above speaking during the February 24, 2010 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education) was excluded from the April 12, 2010 union meeting conducted by CTU President Marilyn Stewart at Hyde Park High School. According to Stewart, only union members from Hyde Park High School were allowed to attend the meeting, which was held to discuss "official union business." Substance photo by Garth Liebhaber.Michael Brunson, a displaced teacher who had been union delegate from Aldridge Elementary School, was also escorted out of the building. Brunson is also a member of CORE.

Marilyn Stewart President of the Chicago Teachers Union, during the April 12, 2010 union meeting at Hyde Park Career Academy, on Southeast side of the city, excluded her own union members from the meeting. Two union members from the Caucus of Rank-And-File Educators (CORE) a group running against the current union leadership, were forced out of the union meeting. They were told this was a "private" union meeting and forced to leave.

Marilyn Stewart had her Field Representative, Nate Dickson, to remove Michael Brunson, a displaced teacher, running for Recording Secretary on the CORE slate in the upcoming union election on May 21, 2010. Mr. Dicksen informed Michael Brunson that this is a private union meeting to discuss the grievance matters pertaining to Hyde Park Career Academy. Under the union contract between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Teamster Local representing the CTU field representatives, Dickson is not supposed to be engaging in partisan union activities.

“Nate Dickson was very unprofessional when he forced me out of the meeting," recounted, Mr. Brunson.

Lois Ashford (above left) was another Chicago Teachers Union member who was kicked out of the April 12, 2010 union meeting at Hyde Park High School in Chicago by Marilyn Stewart, CTU president. Above, Ashford joined Substance Managing Editor Sharon Schmidt (second from left) in speaking against the proliferation of testing in CPS elementary schools at the Board of Education's February 24 meeting. With Ashford and Schmidt above are CORE members Xian Barrett (second from right) and Wade Tillett (right). Substance photo by Garth Liebhaber.Later in the meeting Lois Ashford, Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) Trustee and member of CORE, was told she, too, would have to leave the meeting by the newly elected Associate Delegate Jullanar Maalik-Naselli. According to Lois Ashford, who is one of six teachers currently serving on the Board of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, she attempted to attend the meeting and was ordered out, told that the meeting was for "Hyde Park teachers only."

Ashford's comments were first reported to members of CORE. "I was told to leave the meeting at Hyde Park High School today," Ashford reported by e-mail. "What Ms. Mallat said to me was 'the meeting was for the staff at Hyde Park only. I then asked 'Only Hyde Park staff? No other member of the union was allowed to attend? No, she said because of some issues the staff was having only Hyde Park staff could attend. I then asked her if she was member of UPC to which she said no. I then gathered my things and was escorted out the door. How 'bout that!"

“This meeting was for the staff at Hyde Park only” Ms. Maalik told Lois Ashford. To which she replied, "Only Hyde Park staff? No other members of the union are allowed to attend"?

Ms. Maalik then answered “No,” because of some issues the staff was having only Hyde Park staff could attend. Then Ms. Ashford a union member and elected pension representative of was escorted out the door.

Chicago Teachers Union field representative Nate Dickson (above) kicked CTU member Michael Brunson out of a UPC campaign rally for Marilyn Stewart at Hyde Park High School on April 12, 2010, even though Dickson's union contract states that he is not supposed to engage in partisan political activity. The CTU has forced one field rep (Ted Hajiharis) to take a leave of absence from his union job because he is running for President of the CTU against Marilyn Stewart, but Stewart's administration has been encouraging the field reps, like Dickson, to campaign for her and support the UPC's re-election bid. Substance photo from the Board of Education, February 10, 2009, by George N. Schmidt.Substance contacted various sources within Hyde Park Academy, who wish to remain anonymous because of fear of retaliation by United Progressive Caucus (UPC), the group Marilyn Stewart represents. All confirmed the event that transpired during a called union meeting: including the forceful removal of union members by Marilyn Stewart's UPC staff.

What the sources did say is that once Brunson and Ashford were removed from the meeting Marilyn Stewart and her UPC staff — including Christel Williams-Pierce, clerk at Hyde Park, who is on the UPC ticket running for Vice-President School Clerks — ran the meeting as a political rally and informational session for the UPC slate, rather than a union meeting as was stated to the union members that were excluded from the meeting.

What then transpired according to the reports to Substance of the event at Hyde Park on April 12, 2010, was that Marilyn Stewart, current president of the Chicago Teachers Union is excluding union members from union meetings inside of a public school building. According to some sources, she would then be in violation of the very same Temporary Restraining Order (10-CV-01783) that was placed by Federal Judge St. Eve prohibiting any and all discrimination actions against the rights of union members' right to assembly.

At the time of this report there was no response from Ms. Maalik and Ms. Williams-Pierce, both of whom were contacted about this incident.

Below is an email sent announcing the meeting that union members were excluded from:


Jullanar Maalik on Friday, April 09, 2010 at 3:53 PM -0500 wrote:

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening!

First of all thank you to everyone who participated in the past two CTU deligate [sic] election meetings. I am grateful to have your vote of confidence and will do my best to represent you as the Associate Delegate.

We (the delegates) apologize for not properly letting everyone know about the April 12 CTU meeting. With the approval of the administration, Marilyn Stewart will be here to speak with us and address questions. Please, despite this short notice, be there to welcome her to lend your opinions and support. Monday, room 208 @ 3 pm.

Apologetically, Ms. Jullanar Maalik, Hyde Park Academy, CTE, Associate Union Delegate

Here is an email sent to the IFT, AFT, and AFL-CIO about this incident.


Reports of Exclusive Union Meetings‏


Mon 4/12/10 10:18 PM


I am getting reports from union members that Marilyn Stewart is excluding union members from union meetings inside of public school buildings.

She would then be in violation of the very same Temporary Restraining Order(10-CV-01783) that was placed by Federal Judge St. Eve prohibiting any and all discrimination actions against the rights of union members' right to assembly.

I will be filing an Unfair Labor Practice this evening with the IELRB regarding this matter.

I again demand the affiliates take immediate action to protect union members from any and all coercive and intentional misconduct by the current union leadership.

You have been duly notified.

You can contact me directly.

Dr. John Kugler

Chicago Teachers Union

City-Wide Delegate

[In full disclosure this reporter is a member of CORE and on the May 21, 2010 election slate as a delegate for the IFT and AFT conventions]

Marilyn Stewart has been holding meetings around the city for more than two months, all as "official union business." The meetings are then reported with photographs in the union's official newspaper, the Chicago Union Teacher. Stewart usually follows up each meeting with a letter to each union member at the school, at union expense, repeating the message she gave at the official union meeting.

This is the first instance Substance has heard of where a union meeting was closed to union members without explanation. If anyone knows of other instances, please respond by posting a 'Comment' here of by e-mail to Csubstance 


April 13, 2010 at 11:17 PM

By: Michael E. Brunson

CORE Slate Candidate for CTU Recording Secretary

Please allow me to make a few corrections to the narrative:

1. Nate Dixon did not ask me to leave the meeting. He stopped me from distributing my campaign literature.

2. My complaint with Mr.Dixon was that he was attempting to bully and boss me around and he was not even a member of the Hyde Park staff.

3. It was an associate delegate from Hyde Park HS that asked me to leave the meeting. I was told that this was an "in-house meeting for grievance issues".

4. The Fliers posted in the office of the school advertised the meeting for "All Bargaining Members".

5. The printer's mark at the bottom of the fliers says "ND/oteg-vel-743". Can someone tell me what that means?

6.I insist that all CTU members (regardless of caucus) maintain a spirit of solidarity, civility, equality, and fairness.

April 13, 2010 at 11:35 PM

By: kugler

Political Union Meeting Confirmed

The delegates I know @ HPCA never organised the meeting so then the question is who and why was the meeting organised and if it was Dickson it is a violation of his contract (field reps) are expressly forbidden from engaging in any political activities of the union. Ted Hajiharris was suspended for far less that what Mr. Dickson did the other day.

we as union members must be vigilant in insuring that we run a clean and open election process that does not violate union and constitution rights as affirmed by the court order of Federal Judge St. Eve.

ND/oteg-vel-743 signifies that union office staff created the document

oteg is the office staff union

the field reps are teamsters

April 14, 2010 at 11:27 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Hyde Park leaflet will be posted at SubstanceNews

We've got lots of news circulating today, especially because it sounds like Wall Street is about to reprise 1979, with Moody's lowering the CPS debt rating, but

Within the next few hours we'll have the copy of the Hyde Park advertisement up, thanks to John Kugler's work.

As most people paying attention know, Mairlyn Stewart is not only using the CTU's money to advertise her "official union business" school meetings, but she's also getting free mailings (paid for by us) by sending a personal letter to each union member at each of the schools she visits following each of those "official business" meetings

Given all the big news that's flowing into our main news column (right side here), I'll post the Hyde Park thing on the left, now that Randi's support for an end to Prohibition is getting to be old news.

One last note, since I've already talked with Michael Brunson about this. There is no reason, today, why politically active people don't have digital cameras ready to go wherever they are. I know that Michael and Lois Ashford were blindsided by the ejection at Hyde Park the other day, but both know they need to take the pictures to bring out the story a bit more.

Please people: Think visually. I hated to have to use stock photographs of Michael, Lois, and Nate for this article, since I have a hunch our readers would have like to get a photograph of Nate ejecting Michael, while Marilyn smiled in the background. And then, where are the pictures of Marilyn's campaign pep rally at Hyde Park after they had safely gotten rid of Michael and Lois?

As Kurt Vonnegut used to write, "And so it goes..."

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