SEA caucus, Hajiharis campaign kick-off attracts crowd

Approximately 100 supporters attended the School Employee Alliance (SEA) caucus campaign kick-off event and fundraiser on April 23, 2010, at the Chicago Ale House, 2200 W. Lawrence. The SEA caucus presidential candidate Theodore Hajiharis spoke of the SEA caucus strengths, introduced the officer candidates, and urged those in attendance to campaign for the May 21 CTU election.

Ted Hajiharis (second from left), the SEA Caucus candidate for President of the Chicago Teachers Union speaks to the crowd at the April 23, 2010, SEA caucus event. With Hajiharis are (left to right) Michael Miguest, Belen Alcozar, and Pam Touras. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt. “We are the team that will make Marilyn Stewart pack her bags!” Hajiharis said. “Bottom line is we’ve got to get the word out. We have less than 30 days for the biggest election in CTU history.”

The SEA slate includes Michael Miguest for vice-president, Belen Alcozer for recording secretary, and Pamela Touras for financial secretary.

Hajiharis is a field representative, currently on un-paid leave. He was a delegate from Yates elementary from 1999-2005 until he was hired for his union staff position. He has also served as the IFT political action coordinator.

Miguest has been a delegate for South Shore high school for two years. Alcozer has served for 18 years as a PSRP delegate from Yates elementary and six years as a district supervisor. Touras has been a delegate for six years from McPhearson elementary.

When introducing the officer candidates, Hajiharis noted that Miguest is a 36-year veteran teacher, Alcozer is an expert on Oracle, People Soft, and Impact, and that Touras “could personally kick Ron Huberman’s ass.” Hajiharis said that he could reform the union.

“Somebody’s got to stop partisan politics in the union,” Hajiharis said. “I’m the guy to stop it.”

Hajiharis told Substance that he could negotiate a better contract than the other candidates. He said that Marilyn Stewart and Debbie Lynch are “in denial” of the mistakes they made.

Dewey Child Parent Center delegate Claudette Collins, on the SEA slate as a candidate for trustee, told Substance that she joined the SEA caucus because she thought that Hajiharis was the “right” candidate.

“He knows the contract,” Collins said. “He knows what teachers need. Tenure is not protected in the contract. We need that change back in contract.”

Hajiharis said that the April 7 candidates’ forum at the CTU House of Delegates meeting happened because of SEA caucus members who had submitted petitions in January, forcing the debate.

Claudette Collins (delegate from Dewey Child-Parent Center) and Karen Rogers (teacher at Scott Joplin) were among the more than 100 teachers and others supporting the SEA caucus at the April 23 event. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.The motion would have sat in committee if his team hadn’t taken the matter to court, he said. The SEA caucus is working with attorney Steven Glink, who Hajiharis said was a principled man who has worked on the right side of labor, education, and election law.

“We’ve had to force the UPC to follow their own rules,” Glink said.

Hajiharis is in court against the CTU for forcing him on unpaid leave since March 5, several weeks prior to him turning in the petitions that officially made him a candidate for CTU president.

He said that Stewart and the UPC caucus harassment began in December when Colleen Dykas, CTU field staff coordinator, called him into her office wanting to know if he would be running in the May election. At that time he filed a grievance with his union representative. Field representatives who are employed by the union are represented by the Teamsters Union. 


April 25, 2010 at 10:39 PM

By: Pam Touras

Just a note of thanks...

Friday night's festivities reminded me that in my 20 years as a classroom teacher, I have had the privilege of meeting some tremendous individuals. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends and supporters who attended the event and made it such a success.

I cannot begin to express how much we all appreciate your continued faith in us and your generosity.

On behalf of the S.E.A., I would like to thank Sharon Schmidt for covering our fundraiser, and for her professionalism reporting the event.

Of course, special thanks to Ted for leading our team with encouragement and good humor. He certainly knows how to motivate a crowd!

April 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM

By: jim duszak


Allright let's start getting into some specifics about negotiating a new contract. Members want serious change,they will vote for Stewart unless they are told what they have to lose. Try to be seen more in public ,and be as vocal as I know you can be.

April 29, 2010 at 12:53 AM

By: Garth Liebhaber

What does it mean?


What does that mean, "...stop partisan politics..." ?

Does that mean SEA delegates will let other caucuses flyer at their schools?

Can you also give more details of the contract that Mr. Hajiharis would fix? I'm under the understanding that he helped President Stewart promote the last contract?

Thanks! : )

April 29, 2010 at 2:02 PM

By: kugler

TRO Protects Literature Distribution

if sea is not allowing literature to be distributed at "their" schools then would would be violating the protective order in place that allows union members to distribute literature in all CPS schools.

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