CORE, led by Karen Lewis, wins CTU election in landslide, with Lewis defeating Marilyn Stewart 12,080 to 8,326
Karen Lewis has been elected president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and CORE has won the leadership of the 30,000-member CTU by a landslide. Lewis, a Martin Luther King Jr. High School Chemistry teacher, headed the slate of candidates from the caucus called CORE (the Caucus of Rank and File Educators) and won a landslide victory on June 11, 2010, in the hotly contested Chicago Teachers Union runoff election. CORE not only won the top four offices in the union, but the other nine citywide offices, and all of the vice presidencies for high schools (six) and elementary schools (17). By the time the final vote counts were announced in the early hours of June 12, it was clear that CORE had completely defeated the United Progressive Caucus (UPC) and the six-year CTU president Marilyn Stewart.
The CORE victory, the size of which became clear early in the evening during the counting of the votes at the headquarters of the American Arbitration Association at 225 N. Michigan in Chicago, was a landslide. Karen Lewis defeated Marilyn Stewart by a vote of 12,080 to 8,326, with the other three CORE candidates for officers in the 30,000-member union each receiving more than 12,000 votes to fewer than 8,300 for each of CORE's opponents. The final vote tallies were certified by the American Arbitration Association at 3:00 a.m. on the morning of June 12, 2010.
Senn High School history teacher Jesse Sharkey was elected vice president by a vote of 12,000 (to 8,233 cast for his UPC opponent Mark Ochoa).
Displaced elementary teacher Michael Brunson was elected recording secretary by a vote of 12,016 (to 8,200 cast for his UPC opponent Mary Orr).
Eberhart Elementary School Special Education teacher Kristine Mayle was elected financial secretary by a vote of 12,032 (to 8,191 cast for her UPC opponent Keith VanderMeulen).
All six CORE candidates for trustee were elected. They are: Jackson Potter, Jay Rehak, Lois Ashford, Eric Skalinder, Sara Echevarria, and Albert Ramirez. Their margins over their opponents' were roughly 11,900 to 8,000.
The three CORE candidates for area vice president were elected. The are Carol Caref (Area A), Jennifer Johnson (Area B), and Norine Gutekants (Area C).
All 17 CORE candidates for elementary functional vice president were also elected. They are: Beverly Allebach; Jeffrey Blackwell, Brenda Chandler, Susanne Dunn, Nathan Goldbaum, Alexandra Gonzalez, Francine Greenberg-Reizen, Lara Krejca, Garth Liebhaber, Joseph Linehan, Cielo Munoz, Annette Rizzo, Wade Tillett, Kevin Triplett, James Vail, Cassandra Vaughn, and Terri Wilford.
The acrimonious campaign saw Marilyn Stewart's supporters in the union's United Progressive Caucus spending in excess of a quarter million dollars (if one includes union staff time that was used to try and re-elect Stewart), but the CORE slate won handily.
Observers estimated that a total number of about 20,000 votes would be cast. The voting ended in the schools on the morning of June 11, and the counting began at the headquarters of AAA by 2:00 in the afternoon as hundreds of ballot boxes were delivered. The number of eligible voters in the 30,000-member union is approximately 27,000 (retiree members of the union were not allowed to vote). The union refused to provide Substance with an exact number of eligible voters at the end of the campaign.
Because each candidate gets a unique number of votes, but votes for caucuses generally fall in the same range, the number of votes for the presidential candidate generally reflects the success or failure of the rest of the caucus slate.
The CORE officer candidates elected with Karen Lewis were:
Jesse Sharkey, a Senn High School history teacher, who was elected vice president.
Michael Brunson, a displaced teacher currently working as a substitute teacher, who was elected recording secretary.
Kristine Mayle, a special education teacher at Eberhardt Elementary School, who was elected financial secretary.
Other CORE candidates who won citywide offices in the June 11 voting were six candidates for trustee (Jackson Potter, Jay Rehak, Lois Ashford, Eric Skalinder, Sara Echevarria, and Albert Ramirez) and CORE candidates for "Area Vice Presidents" (Carol Caref, Area A; Jennifer Johnson, Area B; and Norine Gutekanst, Area C).
The voting was also determining the 17 elementary school "functional vice presidents" and vice presidents representing school clerks and school community representatives.
The runoff election was held in all of the schools on June 11, 2010. The runoff came following a five-way race, the voting of which was held on May 21. In the five-way race, Stewart was opposed by two of her former supporters — former Vice President Ted Dallas and field representative Ted Hajiharis — and by former CTU President Deborah Lynch. Stewart had first defeated Lynch for the presidency in 2004, winning a second term in 2007, in a race organized by Dallas.
Some executive board seats had already been decided in May 21 voting.
In each category, the winner is the individual with the majority of the votes. Since the voting is for "functional vice presidents" for each of the major groups within the union, that means that some executive board members were elected prior to the June 11 voting. According to the CTU website, the CORE candidates for high school functional vice presidents won a majority in the May 21 voting, and the UPC candidates for teacher assistance and audiometric technicians won a majority in the May 21 voting. Although the high school vote totals are available on the CTU website (www.ctunet.com), the union never published the complete totals for all PSRP candidates.
The union website was stating the following from the May 21 voting: "The winners for the High School Functional Vice president group are Sean Barrett, Valerie Collins, Lois Jones, Joseph McDermott, Adria Mitchell, and Zulma Ortiz." All are members of CORE.
The union website was stating the following about the PSRP results from the May 21 voting: "The winners for the Teacher/School Bilingual Spanish/Montessori Program/Educational Sign Language Interpreters/ School Social Service/ Instructor Assistants Functional Vice president group are Gloria Higgins, Myra Johnson, and Linda Williams." All are members of the UPC.
The union website was stating the following about the PSRP results from the May 21 voting: "The winner for the Vision, Screening & Audiometric/Audio-Visual Technicians, Speech/Language Pathology Paraeducator, and Bilingual Assistants and Hospital Licensed Practical/ Health service Nurses Functional Vice president group is Arlene Williams." Williams is a UPC candidate.
Two other groups of PSRPs are being contested in the June 11 runoff.
After the CTU failed to publish the complete vote counts from the May 21 election (as of June 11, the vote totals for the PSRP candidates were still not up on the CTU website), CORE observers and canvassers on June 11 were prepared to demand that all observers and canvassers be provided with digital copies of the information before leaving the offices of AAA.