CTU fails to endorse mayoral candidate, targets aldermanic races in 25 of 50 Chicago wards, endorses Susana Mendoza for City Clerk

After more than two hours of intense discussion and a series of motions and votes, the members of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates left their postponed February 2011 meeting on February 14, 2011, without reaching a conclusion on who to support for mayor in the upcoming mayoral vote on February 22. The February 2 meeting had been postponed because of the blizzard, and the re-scheduled meeting couldn't be held until February 14 because of the difficulty in finding a location for the meeting, according to union officials. The CTU House of Delegates consists of delegates elected by teachers in all of the city's union public schools, plus delegates representing all of the other groups represented by the union. [Full disclosure: This reporter is a delegate currently representing some of the union's more than 3,000 retired teacher members].

Debate was held on motions to endorse Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel DelValle, but both motions were inconclusive because of the way in which amendments changed them, according to observers and those present.

A CTU press release issued on February 14 stated as follows:

"At a meeting tonight which was rescheduled from February 2, 2011 due to the blizzard conditions, the governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union, the House of Delegates, voted early in the meeting to endorse 25 candidates for alderman and Susana Mendoza for City Clerk.

"But the debate surrounding which mayoral candidate to endorse was vigorous. "All mayoral candidates were in play tonight. Some received more member attention than others, but any delegate could propose any candidate for endorsement. In the end, no single mayoral candidate could muster a majority of delegate support and, as the night wore on, we no longer had a quorum," said Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union.

"Our 30,000 members are independent thnkers who will vote. Many have played and will continue to play critical roles in local and city-wide races. They know what is at stake and will vote for the candidate they believe will improve schools and improve the system," said Lewis.

The union did vote to endorse 25 candidates for alderman. The union has taken no position on the races in the other half of the city's 50 wards. The candidate for alderman who were endorsed by a vote of the union's House of Delegates are (Ward, Name of Candidate, status of candidate):

Ward 2, Robert "Bob" Fioretti, Incumbent

Ward 3, Pat Dowell, Incumbent

Ward 4, Will Burns, Open

Ward 5, Pat Leslie Hairston, Incumbent

Ward 6, Fredrenna Lyle, Incumbent

Ward 8, Michelle Harris, Incumbent

Ward 12, Jesse Iniguez, Challenger

Ward 15, Toni Foulkes, Incumbent

Ward 17, Latasha Thomas, Incumbent

Ward 18, Chuks Onyezia, Challenger

Ward 19, Matt O'Shea, Open

Ward 20, Che "Rhymfest" Smith, Challenger

Ward 21, Sylvia Jones, Challenger

Ward 22, Ricardo Munoz, Incumbent

Ward 24, Donielle Lawson, Challenger

Ward 25, Cuatemoc Morfin, Challenger

Ward 28, Jason Ervin, Incumbent

Ward 30, Ariel Reboyras, Incumbent

Ward 32, Scott Waguespack, Incumbent

Ward 36, Jodi Biancalana, Challenger

Ward 43, Carmen Olmetti, Open

Ward 46, Marc Kaplan, Open

Ward 47, Ameya Pawar, Open

Ward 49, Joe Moore, Incumbent

Ward 50, Debra Silverstein, Challenger

The union did not endorse any candidates in the following wards: 1, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 23, 26, 27, 29, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, and 48. The reasons for the union's having taken no positions on these races were not stated at the meeting.

Following the February 22 voting, there will be runoffs for all office in which no candidate has a majority (50 percent plus one of the votes). There will be six weeks between the February 22 voting and the runoff.

According to the CTU press release: The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest union in the country and the largest local union in Illinois.


February 21, 2011 at 9:42 PM

By: Patrick

Shame on CTU

Shame on CTU for not endorse a mayoral candidate. They have endorsed Pat Quinn who messes up with teachers' pensions, and Obama, with race to the top in his education agenda. If the CHICAGO teachers union does not get involved with CHICAGO politics, then what?! Shame Shame Shame !

February 22, 2011 at 1:53 PM

By: disagree-CTU was smart not to

CTU-right on!

It is a democratic process at CTU now! I know this is a new feeling. CTU endorsement of non-Rham would motivate Rhambo to take it out on CTU-he has his ways of doing this. When we have a runoff, there is negotiation with the 2 candidates left. CTU did the right thing. We will feel Rahm's sting, no need to feel it with deep revenge.

February 22, 2011 at 7:52 PM

By: Jim Vail

respond to message above

I would like to respond to the message above that is happy the CTU endorsed no one in the race.

Yes, I agree democracy played a big role in debating the issue at the HOD meeting- that is a welcome relief from the prior admin. that made deals in secret.

But to fear "Rhambo" is playing into his hands - this thinking is exactly why unions are in the state they are today.

Everyone is afraid - afraid for their job, afraid of the principal, afraid of the mayor, afraid of speaking out or blowing the whistle on corruption, afraid - afraid - afraid = that is is how they rule.

Do you think we would have defeated the Nazis today is we were "afraid" to lose?

Did the French do the right thing by inviting the Nazis in for fear of retribution? Or the Soviets for fighting like hell which saved the world from this vicious fascism that aimed to wipe out races of people.

Remember what FDR once said - we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

I argued the opposite at the HOD - Rahm would respect us more to take a stand we believe in, then to back down and be cowards - how much easier it will be for him to destroy us, with his neoliberal agenda he takes from DC.

The stakes are high - fight, or else.

February 22, 2011 at 9:27 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

New Mayor

They just announced Rahm Emmanuel is our new mayor. Hopefully it won't be too bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 22, 2011 at 9:49 PM

By: Bob



Before we all get carried away remember the real silent majority of voters

decided not to vote. To put in perspective the winner got 55% of 35% or

if my math is right about 18 votes per 100 potential voters. This is not a mandate

it is a shame.

February 23, 2011 at 8:49 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Double Shame

It is a shame that so many people chose not to vote. It is so much easier today than it was when I was younger with the early voting so you can't use the excuse of being tied up or sick on election day. Rahm is going to take it as a mandate and people who chose not to vote have only themselves to blame.

The second shame is Rahm for not being honest about his plans for the city and especially the school system.

February 23, 2011 at 8:21 PM

By: Katherine

To paraphrase and old saying...

all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

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