Stewart continues campaigning using 'union business' as pretext for holding school meetings, while refusing to confront her four opponents

While her four opponents continued campaigning across the city hosting school meetings, leafleting in schools, and using time on weekends for get-togethers, Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart entered the final month of what many believe will be her last campaign for CTU President by using every resource at the union to promote her candidacy. At the same time, Stewart has ignored the requests of her opponents to appear in public meetings where she has to debate them on the issues facing the union's remaining 30,000 members. Stewart's group barred the press from covering the April 7 debate featuring the five candidates which took place at the union's House of Delegates meeting, refused to allow any photographs to be taken of the debate, and did not publish any reports on the debate at the union's website ( The major reports on the debate have been by Jim Vail and Danielle Ciesielski, published here at SubstanceNews. Both Vail and Ciesielski are union members.

Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart (above) protested against the school closings in February 2009 accompanied by CTU financial secretary Mark Ochoa (behind Stewart) and recording secretary Mary McGuire (above right). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Jim Vail's report was published at SubstanceNews on April 8, the day after the debate, and can be found at§ion=Article

Danielle Ciesielski's report, which was also distributed to the union members at Robeson High School where she teaches, was published on April 13 at SubstanceNews at§ion=Article

The union's active duty members (retirees cannot vote) are scheduled to vote in all of the city's more than 600 public schools on May 21, 2010.

By April 20, one month before the election, each of the candidates had established a presence via a Web site and through other methods, while the characteristics of each campaign had begun to take shape.

The next major public event featuring all of the candidates will be a "Town Hall Meeting" at Curie High School after school on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. The meetings is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. As of April 19, three of the five candidates had agreed to be present.

Five candidates for CTU President and their slates were certified at the union's April 7 House of Delegates meeting. The presidential candidates also engaged in a spirited "Town Hall" debate at that time.

The candidates managed to get their completed nominating petitions in to the union by the deadline of March 23 by turning in petitions at the union's Merchandise Mart offices by the end of the workday that day. In order to get on the ballot, candidates had to have the signatures of five percent of the eligible voters in each category.

One of the features of the current CTU race is the emergence of candidates' and caucuses' websites as a method of campaigning. Since the emergency of the websites is a recent event, it is impossible to judge in advance of the voting what impact the websites will have on the outcome. Each of the candidates' caucuses now has a website that is updated on a regular basis.

The main candidates for each caucus are as follows.

Ted Hajiharis (School Employee Alliance Caucus). Website:

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

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

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

Marilyn Stewart (United Progressive Caucus, UPC).

Marilyn Stewart is the incumbent, having been elected to two terms beginning in 2001. Her United Progressive Caucus (UPC) has been in existence since 1970.

Deborah Lynch, currently a teacher at Gage Park High School, served as union president between 2001 and 2004, when she was defeated by Marilyn Stewart in the closest election in union history. Her ProActive Chicago Teachers and school employees (PACT) caucus has been in existence since 1996.

Ted Hajirharis is a union field rep who is currently on leave. His School Employee Alliance (SEA) Caucus has been in existence since 2009.

Karen Lewis teaches at King College Prep High School. Her Caucus Or Rank and file Educators (CORE) has been in existence since 2008. Since its founding, CORE has been active in a range of issues from school closings to the CPS budget, where its members have testified in both 2008 and 2009 at the annual hearings.

Linda Porter is CTU Treasurer who broke with Stewart following the union's 2007 election and the 2007 contract. Her Caucus for a Strong Democratic Union (CSDU) has been in existence since 2008. Since then, the CSDU has been active in meetings of the CTU House of Delegates, regularly offering motions, and has testified at the CPS budget hearings.

At the April 7 meeting of the House of Delegates, 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 20, 2010 at 11:08 PM

By: John Moran

Town Hall Meeting

The CSDU will be represented at the Curie Town Hall Meeting.

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