MARILYN STEWART'S UPC LIES CONTINUE: Disinformation leaflet distributed anonymously by UPC people June 2 and June 3... UPC continues disinformation campaign with exclusive focus now on CORE, Karen Lewis

Marilyn Stewart's United Progressive Caucus (UPC), which currently controls all of the elected offices and all but one or two of the seats on the Chicago Teachers Union executive board, has continued a disinformation policy that began with anonymous leaflets distributed during the past months attacking Stewart's declared opponents and opponents of her UPC appointees. The campaign of disinformation — basically, lying — now is directed exclusively at Karen Lewis, Stewart's opponent for CTU President in the June 11 runoff election. It is also direct at CORE, the Caucus Of Rank and file Educators, the slate that is sponsoring and supporting Lewis's candidacy.

Members of Marilyn Stewart's United Progressive Caucus began distributing the above leaflet following the end of the June 2, 2010 CTU House of Delegates meeting at the Operating Engineers Hall. They continued circulating it in the schools, with some union delegates claiming to members that it came "from the union." Although the leaflet does not include information on how to contact the UPC, which issued and distributed it (attempting to be anonymous), it urges voters in the upcoming June 11 runoff to vote for the UPC. By June 3, the UPC was circulating an anonymous leaflet (see illustration) in all Chicago public schools, falsely claiming that Karen Lewis and CORE were going to abolish the union staff position of field rep and place full responsibility for all grievance work, including arbitrations, in the hands of local school delegates.

Viewed in the context of the six-year history of Stewart's presidency, however, the latest disinformation is just a continuation of practices that began almost as soon as Stewart won the hotly contested 2001 runoff against President Deborah Lynch. From the beginning of her term in office, Stewart has orchestrated a campaign against real and perceived "enemies" of the United Progressive Caucus that not only included anonymous leaflets like the one circulating on June 2 and June 3, 2010, but physical intimidation and even an attempt to arrest her predecessor after a staged confrontation at a union House of Delegates meeting less than a year after Stewart took office.

The six-year campaign against Deborah Lynch

After harassing Deborah Lynch in the House of Delegates throughout the 2004 - 2005 school year, Stewart and her lieutenants boldly called the police on Lynch following Lynch's speech to the House after she was nominated for an executive board position. Chicago police arrived at the House of Delegates without revealing who made the phone call, escorted Lynch out of the hall, and place her in the back seat of a squad car while they waited for someone from the union to come out and sign the paperwork as the complaining witness. A crowd of irate delegates gathered as the police waited and waited. Finally, the police released Lynch, but not before UPC attorney Lawrence Poltrock had told the police he was Lynch's lawyer and gotten permission to join her in the back seat of the police car. The complete story of that incident was told in Substance in the September 2005 issue (our June 2005 issue had already gone to press, and we don't publish over the summer) and is still available at the "old" Substance website at

The complete story of the June 2005 incident, with photographs, can be found by cutting and pasting the address below into your browser window...

On June 1, 2005, less than a year after Marilyn Stewart took office, Stewart's people tried to have Stewart's predecessor, Deborah Lynch, arrested during the June 2005 meeting of the CTU House of Delegates at Plumbers Hall in Chicago. The police, confronted with a protest by as many as 50 delegates who left the meeting after hearing about the scandalous incident, finally released Lynch after several UPC officials refused to come forward and sign the "disorderly conduct" complaint against Lynch. Nevertheless, Lynch was forced to spend a half hour in a squad car, based on the false allegation made in a phone call from the union meeting. Lynch subsequently decided not to sue for false arrest, leaving forever aside the possibility of learning who had made the phone call. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt, originally published in the September 2005 edition of Substance. See also for back issues from those years.In that same issue, Substance published a lengthy analysis of the House of Delegates by Theresa Daniels, who had been covering the House meetings for years for Substance. The story was entitled "Scofflaw union chiefs run outlaw meeting" and is worth quoting at length here as a reminder of how Stewart has been operating since the beginning:

Scofflaw Union Chiefs Run Outlaw Meeting By Theresa D. Daniels (from the September 2005 edition of Substance, available on line at

"The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates June meeting, held at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., on June 1, 2005, was unlike any other conducted in my over-30 years of attendance at these meetings. Dozens of other delegates told Substance the same thing, both during the meeting and since, so this report is offered in the context of that unprecedented reality.

"By the time the meeting was over, President Marilyn Stewart and her team had broken most of the rules of parliamentary procedure, union democracy, and civilized behavior.

"• Preposterously, Stewart allowed no questions on the proposed 2005-2006 budget, which was to be the main work of that meeting.

"• Then Stewart cheated on the budget vote count by reversing the totals of the Yes and No votes and said that the budget had passed 207 to 167 — another stolen election by the United Progressive Caucus (UPC), according to many.

"• Later in the meeting, Financial Secretary Mark Ochoa menaced and distracted Debbie Lynch and the House during Lynch’s minute-long campaign speech for Executive Board High School Functional Vice President. He stayed leaning over her the whole time, causing a whispering through the hall — of even UPC ladies — of “He needs to get off of her. He needs to move away from her.” Ochoa caused Lynch to drop her notes at the beginning of her speech, and then before she could finish, he covered the microphone with his hand mid-word and mid-sentence (a ploy never before seen in the House to signal “time-up” for a speech).

"• And in the final moments of the meeting, President Stewart tried to hide the fact that Lynch had won the high school election 52 to 45. Only a clamor from many mikes forced her announcement..."

The practice of character assassination became more pronounced following Stewart's railroad of the August-September 2007 contract agreement which she had reached virtually unilaterally with Mayor Richard M. Daley's chief negotiator, James Franczek. After refusing to allow a full discussion and debate on the proposed contract at the August 31, 2007, meeting of the House of Delegates (Stewart claimed there was a time limit on the union's use of the Plumber's Union hall, when in fact she had agreed to the time limit rather than asking for unlimited time), Stewart proceeded to call for a "vote" on the contract proposal without calling for or counting the "No" votes. That led to a major confrontation after Stewart hastily adjourned the House of Delegates and tried to hold a press conference announcing the agreement, while hundreds of union delegates protested noisily outside. 


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