Boss's spy ordered to leave CTU House of Delegates meeting

Less than one month after he was convicted in a union court of spying for the boss, former Chicago Teachers Union member Marc Wigler attempted to enter the union's May 9, 2012 House of Delegates meeting at the Operating Engineers Union hall and had to be escorted out of the building by building security. Wigler entered during the rush of more than 700 delegates from across the city and tried to secure a delegate's badge at approximately 4:15 p.m. on the day of the meeting. He was identified by several union members who were familiar with the fact that a few weeks earlier he had been voted out of the union for life by a majority vote of the union's executive board.

Former Chicago Teachers Union member Marc Wigler exits the Operating Engineers union hall on May 9, 2012, after he was told he had to leave because he is no longer a member of the union. A few weeks earlier, the CTU executive board had voted to expel Wigler for life from the union following the discovery that he had been reporting from the House of Delegates meetings by email to executives of the Chicago Public Schools administration. Wigler, a former union staff member, had been serving as a delegate representing "citywide" teachers prior to his expulsion. Substance photo by John Kugler.Wigler had been identified through emails he had sent to Chicago Public Schools labor relations chief Rachel Resnick reporting on the activities during the House of Delegates meetings a few weeks earlier. The emails had been provided to the union in an unrelated matter, and some of them were reports by Wigler to Resnick. After confirming the authenticity of the emails, the executive board was convened in a special meeting and after reviewing the evidence voted to expel Wigler from the union for life, several sources in the leadership confirmed to Substance.

Wigler arrived at the May 9 meeting wearing his red "United Progressive Caucus" tee shirt, and after talking with UPC members leafleting against the leadership outside the union meeting, he went inside accompanied by a friend who was a legitimate delegate. A CTU officer and a CTU sergeant at arms confronted Wigler and informed him that he had no further right to attend union meetings or other functions, and reminded him that his expulsion had been for life. After a brief confrontation, Wigler was escorted out of the union hall by building security. (The CTU holds its month House of Delegates meetings at the Operating Engineers union hall on S. Grove St. near Chicago's Chinatown).

Prior to the confrontation on May 9, union executive board members had asked that the matter not be discussed publicly. Once Wigler attempted his May 9 action, the situation became public information.

Although the boss's spy Marc Wigler tried to cover up his United Progressive Caucus (UPC) tee shirt when he spotted a Substance camera as he was being ejected from the May 9, 2012 meeting, he couldn't also cover the back of the shirt, which proclaims that the UPC (the name of which appears on the front) has been "protecting members' rights" (sic). Above, Wigler leaving the area of the union meeting on May 9, 2012. Substance photo by John Kugler.Under the Constitution and By-Laws of the Chicago Teachers Union, the union has the power to police its own ranks. Union members who violate union ethics can be brought before the executive board and tried. Historically, such trials have rarely taken place. The main times in history when they have taken place have been following strikes, when the union has put on trial all union members who crossed the picket lines. Those people, known as "Scabs" or strikebreakers during the strike, are allowed to explain their behavior and if they wish, to pay a significant fine and reinstate themselves into union membership. Most scabs refuse to repent and remain designated as "SB" on union membership lists forever ("SB" is the computer designation for strikebreaker).

Historically, there have been a few instances where union members have crossed picket lines under extraordinary circumstances. During one lengthy strike during the 1980s, a north side teacher known to Substance at the time was ordered by a circuit court judge to "work" during a strike so that he could continue to pay court-ordered child support payments from an earlier divorce. Immediately after that strike ended, the teacher paid the fine, which was the equivalent to the total amount of money he had been paid while scabbing, and was reinstated in the union. The teacher had been told by the divorce court judge that he could either "work" during the strike and pay the child support or go to jail. It was one of the most unusual examples in CTU history of the complexity of such matters.

Very few scabs have had such legitimate reasons.

Before he was spotted and told to leave the union meeting, Marc Wigler tried to get a delegate's credential from the district supervisors. Substance photo by John Kugler.Wigler eventually left the union building and the sidewalk outside, although he did stop briefly to talk with his colleagues from the "United Progressive Caucus" who had been distributing their monthly leaflet attacking the leadership and again making charges against some members of the union staff. He did not join the UPC people at Connie's Pizza after the meeting, as far as Substance could determine. Substance does not have Wigler's contact information and so was not able to get a response on deadline for this article.


May 10, 2012 at 9:20 AM

By: John Whitfield

A Fresh Start

So the executive committee voted to give him a Fresh Start.

May 10, 2012 at 9:02 PM

By: Kati Gilson

Fresh start for a scab?

Being permenantly banned from CTU isn't exactly a fresh start. That reputation will follow him. You can't trust a scab. The Executive Committee did the right thing by banning him forever. At this critical time in teacher union history we don't need any scabs. Get with us or get off the ride!

May 10, 2012 at 10:04 PM

By: J. whitfield

Wigler and 'Fresh Start' schools

Seems like he got a taste of his own medicine having pushed for those "Fresh Start Schools," back when he was working for the CTU (yes, Wigler worked for CTU). The "Fresh Start Schools" where so many instructors got the axe, once the Fresh Start scaliwags moved in.

May 11, 2012 at 12:53 AM

By: John Kugler

Scab helped fire tenured teachers...

Marc Wigler, a former Chicago teacher who worked for the Chicago Teachers Union in a $100,000 per year job, was in charge of the "Fresh Start" program that helped the Chicago Board of Education fire veteran (and tenured) Wells High School teacher Harriet Walczak.

This is from a Substance story:

"Above, on the same day that Chicago Board of Education voted to fire Ms. Walczak, Wigler spent part of his day trying to be militant at two protests organized by CTU President Marilyn Stewart, where he took a bullhorn and spoke about "union" matters standing in front of the Chicago Board of Education's downtown Chicago building. Wigler neglected to mention that part of his job is to help the boss destroy teacher seniority and tenure, through "Fresh Start."

"Wigler was not present later in the day when the Board of Education voted unanimously to fire Wells High School teacher Harriet Walczak, despite a 100-page hearing officer transcript and report proving that the "Fresh Start" attack on Walczak was wrong and a recommendation from the hearing officer that Walczak NOT be fired. Because of Fresh Start, the Chicago school board can ignore a hearing officer's recommendation and fire any tenured teacher it wants to fire at "Fresh Start" schools, with the blessings of the current CTU leadership and the assistance of Wigler on behalf of the CTU."

There are dozens of other teacher narratives that will now come out about how "Fresh Start" promoted internal scabbing, pitting teacher against teacher, thanks to that regime and the job Wigler was being paid at the CTU to do...

May 11, 2012 at 8:51 PM

By: Kimberly Bowsky

Fashion Faux Pas

His shirt says "Protecting members' rights since 1957." Sir flouts the rules, works with the other side, and is determined to come to a union he screwed and left with the SAME TOOLS IN HIS HANDS WITH WHICH HE DID THE DIRTY WORK? (See photograph) Did he protect my rights, our rights, with his history of actions? Is he still allowed to wear that pretty red shirt?

May 12, 2012 at 5:46 PM

By: Tina Beacock

Spies, traitors etc.

Very punny, John! More stories are sure to follow about Marc, but I am gratified to see, it is not necessary to wish someone ill-- just that they get what they deserve. Arrogant, careerist, ambitious, undermining: Sorry I didn't go with my gut when he first got active in the CTU Gay and Lesbian Issues committee I cochaired. Does he still work in a school? Surely the UPC has also thrown him out. When I was displaced and subbing at Wells, colleagues told how he got them fired, and bragged about it -- a salutary lesson on labor-management 'cooperation'- it always means, doing the boss' s work.

May 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM

By: John Kugler

Watch for Spies!

Ran across this video and it is important that we be careful in these dangerous times.

Among to Working Class there will be classes of individuals that will be used as tools of the 1% to destroy any movement or cause that fights for equality and democracy.

the Scab

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab.

A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.

Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.

No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.

Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.

Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.

Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.

Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commision in the british army.

The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife, his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled promise from his employer.

Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country.

A scab is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and his class.

--- Jack London (1876-1916)

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