CTU delegates continue intense training at March 26 sessions

Three hundred Chicago Teachers Union delegates, joined for the first time at a union training by Local School Council teacher reps, spent their Saturday at Whitney Young High School on March 26, 2011. They had come together to about about both the labor movement and the workings of their own union. The all-day sessions, the second since the 2010 - 2011 school year began, heard from the leaders of other unions, community groups, and union reps as well as from the officers of the largest union in Illinois, the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union.

The large auditorium at Whitney Young Magnet High School, the best integrated high school in Illinois, was nearly filled with Chicago Teachers Union delegates and other local school leaders for the union leadership training on March 26, 2011. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.After breakfast in the Whitney Young "Blue House" lunchroom, the teachers and other delegates joined CTU President Karen Lewis and the leaders of three unions and one major community group in the Whitney Young auditorium for a general session. Leaders of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), Unite HERE (the hotel and restaurant workers union), the operating engineers, and the Chicago Federation of Labor spoke.

Jay Travis of KOCO led off, talking about how important it was the the new leadership of the CTU had been working cooperatively with KOCO, which led the earliest protests against what became "Renaissance 2010."

William Iacullo, President of the International Union of Operating Engineers (Local ___) reminded the teachers several times about the importance of solidarity and all unions sticking together.

Bob Reiter, who began his career as an operating engineer, is now Secretary Treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor and talked about how much struggle lies ahead.

Henry Tamarin, President of Unite HERE Local 1 in Chicago (which represents 3,600 CPS lunchroom workers) also spoke,

The delegates and LSC reps then went to several workshops, held in the school's classrooms

There were ten sessions in the morning, and the delegates and others had the chance prior to the conference to select the one they wanted to attend. James Riley and Karl Hubert or the grievance department discussed "Salary and Article 36" with a large number of delegates. "Developing our next teacher evaluation system" was handled both in the morning and afternoon by Carol Caref of the QUEST center. Ted Hajiharis and Joey McDermott schooled the teachers in "Preparation Periods and Programming" (Room 203), while Marsha Allen and Maria Rodriguez did "Pre-discipline and the Employee Discipline Code" next door (in room 204).

Greg Cox and Sharon Orlowek led the discussion on "How to Evaluate the Evaluations: E3s and Evaluation" in Room 205. Nate Dickson and John Kugler dealt with the use of Article 44-9 and the various discipline articles in the workshop entitled "Unruly students driving you mad?" "How to communicate with fellow union members" was held in Room 207 by David Stieber and Adam Heenan, while KOCO's Jitu Brown led "Strengthening the LSCs" in R00, 208.

Jackson Potter led "Howe to Shape OUr Next Contract" in Room 209, while PPC and PPLCs were discussed by Annette Rizzo and Lois Jones in Room 210. Upstairs in Room 301, Jay Rehak led a discussion entitled "Protectiong Your Pension."

Five of the morning workshops (Teacher Evaluation System; How to Evaluate the Evaluations; Strengthening the LSCs; How to Shape the Next Contract; PPCs and PPLCs; and Pensions) were repeated in the afternoon.

In addition to those, there were three new ones:

Organizing charter schools was hosted in Room 201 by Alix Guevarra; "Neutralize and Abusive Principal" was led by Rosita Chatonda and Matt Luskin in Room 204; and "Fighting the Billionaires" was led by Jesse Sharkey in Room 206.

During lunch, the teachers and others listened to Karen Lewis, who introduced a representative of the nurses who had been organizing in Madison, Wisconsin.

After lunch, delegates and reps returned to the classrooms for another round of instruction.

The delegates also received a first from the CTU — a jump drive that held more than 500 pages of information that had once been summarized, much more briefly, in a loose leaf booklet, called a "Delegate's Handbook."

Following the sessions, a large group of delegates and other got together at Stanley's, a bar and restaurant on Racine Ave. a few blocks from the school, to discuss what had just taken place and to learn more about CORE, the CTU caucus that now leaders the 30,000-member union.


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