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Huge CORE turnout June 2 at Connie's includes all three presidential candidates in support of Lewis, CORE

A huge turnout that ultimately included more than 150 people filled a large portion of Connie's Pizza on Archer Ave. following the June 2, 2010, meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union as CORE moved into the final eight days of campaigning for the elected leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union. While the highlights of the event were all the informal and formal grass roots excitement that has been building in the 30,000-member union, probably the most important political event of the evening came when four of the candidates from the May 21 election stood together, all united behind a victory for CORE and Karen Lewis in the upcoming June 11 runoff election.

The Connie's dinner, which CORE supplied, consisted of Connie's pizzas which "just kept coming," as Nate Goldbaum of CORE said at one point. But in addition to enjoying some of the best pizza in a town that specializes in very good pizza, the event was political in an unprecedented way. For the first time in the history of the Chicago Teachers Union, members of what had once been almost warring union factions put aside most of their differences, sat together, and talked strategy about how to bring back the union's power and militancy following years of losses.

The key to the possibility was that the leaders of the three caucuses that went out of the running on May 21 brought most of their supporters together to back CORE and the CORE candidate for CTU president, Karen Lewis. Immediately after it became clear that she would not be in the running for the runoff, CTU Treasurer Linda Porter spoke to the leadership of the Caucus for a Strong Democratic Union and brought a CSDU endorsement to CORE and Karen Lewis.

By the end of the weekend of May 21 - 23, even before the remaining missing ballot boxes had been accounted for and counted, CSDU had endorsed Karen Lewis and CORE and posted that endorsement on its website (http://www.thecsdu.org). CSDU staff told Substance that they intend to maintain the CSDU website and perhaps update it following the June 11 runoff.

A few days later, Deborah Lynch and the PACT caucus leadership met and voted to support CORE and Karen Lewis. According to the article published at substancenews.net and in the June Substance print edition, the PACT leaders met on May 25 following the mass marches and rallies against cuts and class size increases.

Four of the five candidates for CTU President in the May 21, 2010, election, joined hands (above) for a CORE victory in the June 11 runoff. Left to right: Ted Hajiharis (SEA caucus); Karen Lewis (CORE caucus); Linda Porter (CSDU caucus); and Deborah Lynch (PACT caucus). In the first round of the voting in the 30,000-member union, the two highest vote getters were Karen Lewis of CORE and incumbent President Marilyn Stewart of the United Progressive Caucus (UPC). Lewis will face Stewart on June 11. SEA, CSDU, and PACT are now supporting Lewis and CORE. Substance photo by John Kugler.In another part of the large South Side Chicago landmark, about 60 people from Marilyn Stewart's United Progressive Caucus were also meeting. A number of CORE activists visited them during the evening.



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