CTU President Marllyn Stewart provides directory of CTU delegate to the Board of Education — but not to union members and delegates!

For the first time in 40 years, the members of the Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates do not have an up-to-date copy of the union’s Delegates Directory, as required by the union’s by-laws. Above: Beginning in 1969, the Chicago Teachers Union published a Directory of the members of the union’s House of Delegates. The publication continued under five union presidents: John Desmond, Robert M. Healey, Jacqueline Vaughn, Tom Reece, and Deborah Lynch. Since Marilyn Stewart became CTU president in 2004, the union’s leaders have refused to publish the Directory, despite union rules. Ironically, the CTU provides the Board of Education with a complete list of all delegates every school year, because of a requirement in the Union contract.

But at the same time, the administration of CTU President Marilyn Stewart has been providing the Board of Education with the same information it says it can’t provide the delegates, on a yearly basis.

Under Article 1-17 of the current contract with the Board of Education, “The UNION shall furnish at the beginning of each school year a current copy of the House of Delegates Directory to the Chief Labor Relations Officer.” According to CTU Chief of Staff, the union has been doing this.

According to the union’s by-laws, however, the union is also required to publish a Directory and distribute it to members of the House of Delegates every two years. “Printing of a Directory was authorized May 9, 1969 by the House of Representatives requiring: Names of House members; School Represented; Home telephone numbers (unless the delegate requests in writing that the home telephone number be omitted).”

For nearly 40 years, this practice became a mainstay of the operations of the Chicago Teachers Union, facilitating communications among delegates and strengthening the union across the city.

After the June 2004 election of Marilyn Stewart as President of the Chicago Teachers Union, the practice was simply stopped. The last Directory published was published during the presidency of Deborah Lynch, which ended in August 2004. The four-year gap in publication of the directory is the longest in 40 years. At the present time, the Board of Education has a current list of all of the members of the CTU House of Delegates, but the delegates themselves do not. On March 15, 2008, Substance asked for information on this matter from CTU Chief of Staff John Ostenburg.

“I am doing a story on the refusal of the union to publish a Delegates Directory since 2004 and would like to know whether there is currently a Directory published since January 1, 2005, and if not, why not,” the e-mail stated. “As you know, Article 1-17 of the contract states that the union shall provide a list of all school delegates to the Board each year. We have confirmed that is being done. Please let me know, on the record, why the Board gets a copy of the Directory but the union’s delegates and members don’t under the current administration.”

On March 16, 2008, Ostenburg replied: “I’m not sure whose decision it was or why it was made. However, I’ll inquire and let you know as soon as I hear something.”

As of March 31, Substance had not received any further information on the publication of the Delegates’ Directory by the administration of Marilyn Stewart. 

This article was originally published in the print edition of Substance for April 2008.


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