Union bureaucrats trying to snuff out opposition to closings, turnarounds, phase outs, and consolidations

Leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union have begun to actively try and stop the organizing of union teachers belonging to CORE, the Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators, by opposing direct action against the latest school board attacks on the city's remaining unionized teachers and other school workers.

Chicago Teachers Union field rep Maria Rodriguez (above, speaking during the February 4, 2009 hearing on the proposed "phase out" of Walter Reed Elementary School) tried to order a CORE member not to distribute CORE materials to parents, teachers, and students at the hearing. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.At the February 4 hearing on the proposal to phase out Walter Reed Elementary School in Chicago's Englewood community, Chicago Teachers Union Field Rep Maria Rodriguez tried to order CORE member Kristine Mayle to stop distributing CORE leaflets to parents, students and teachers during the hearing. "Rodriguez tried to order me to stop," Mayle told this reporter.

At the same time, according to a number of reports, representatives of Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart tried to dampen militant opposition to the attacks on the 22 schools this school year. At a February 4 meeting of the "coalition partners" (the coalition called GEM), CTU staff members Peter Ardito, Sharon Orlowek, Erin Doubleday, and Mark Ochoa tried to stop union teachers and others from planning direct action against the Board of Education at the February 25 Board meeting. The Board will vote on the 22 proposals at that meeting.

The concerted efforts to stop militant teacher and community opposition to this year's round of privatizations comes less than one week after CTU President Marilyn Stewart made her last appearance at the hearings. On Thursday, January 29, Stewart remained at the hearings from 3:00 p.m. until after 10:00 p.m. and gave a militant speech at the final hearing telling teachers and others from Carpenter Elementary (whose hearing was taking place that night from 8:00 until 10:00) that she was building a "movement" to stop these attacks on public schools.

Stewart has not attended or spoken at a hearing since. 


February 7, 2009 at 10:27 PM

By: Jim Vail


Marilyn Stewart said they stopped the phase out of Medill because it was a TAP school - the merit pay union program. However, we see it's still on the list. What's up with that?

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