CORE launches re-election campaign with large meeting, extensive planning amid growing outrage that union opposition takes to the Chicago Tribune to circulate its message

Chicago's Caucus Of Rank-and-file Educators (CORE) began its re-election campaign with a large meeting of teachers and others at Chicago's Letter Carriers union hall of the city's South Side on February 25, 2013. The meeting, the first of regular (every two weeks) membership meetings of the CORE rank and file, was attended by more than 100 people. Following reports on other CORE and union activities, including the massive protests against the proposed school closings, the CORE activists present (several, including some of the union's officers running for re-election, were not at the meeting) broke into "Network" based groups to circulate petitions and begin to build the election organization which all were confident will bring CORE to its second victory in the Chicago Teachers Union election on May 17, 2013.

Some of the more than 100 teachers and other CTU members and leaders who met at the Letter Carriers union hall to begin circulating the nominating petitions for the 2013 Chicago Teachers Union election. Substance photo by John Kugler.The meeting came six days after the unprecedented decision by the publishers of the Chicago Tribune to devote a front page article to the challengers who have declared their intention of taking back control of the union from Karen Lewis and the CORE leadership. The declaration by the "Salvation" caucus (the "Coalition to Save Our Union") became public at a press conference held outside the Merchandise Mart headquarters of the union. At that time, the new opposition group announced that it is fielding former CTU Financial Secretary Mark Ochoa for vice president, delegate Tanya Saunders Wolffe, and two others against Karen Lewis and the current union leaders.

The CORE members at the February 25 CORE meeting were in many cases outraged that their opponents chose to take to the front page of the anti-union Chicago Tribune to bring public their attack on the current union leadership. Although the "Salvation" caucus claims that more could be won by extending the seven-day Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, not one of the people now declared against Karen Lewis and the union's leadership took the floor of the union's House of Delegates meetings in September 2012 demanding that the strike be extended. Some of them, by contrast, worked in union committees and elsewhere to sabotage the careful planning that led to the successful, and legal, strike.


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