First Amendment rights of Board of Education workers are being violated again, despite previous federal court decisions and injunctions... CPS tries to ban union business again... six years after court ordered them to stop...

The following caption was with the original photo published at substancenews on March 26, 2010. "Deborah Lynch (third from left) stands with supporters and fellow litigants in front of the plaque containing the Bill of Rights in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago following the hearing on March 24, 2010 in the case of "Lynch et al v. Huberman et al." Following two days of hearings, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve issued a temporary restraining order against Ron Huberman and the Chicago Board of Education ordering that Huberman rescind his March 12 order barring union election activities in Chicago's public schools. With Lynch above are (left to right): Taft High School teacher Danny Van Over (a plaintiff in the case), Michael Brunson (a CORE member who testified in the case), Deborah Lynch, Mary Ellen Sanchez, and Maureen Callaghan." Substance photo by George Schmidt.Six years ago, the Chicago Board of Education banned union business in schools. The First Amendment rights of teachers and others who work in the schools were being violated. A group of unionists, led by former CTU President Deborah Lynch and members of her PACT caucus, filed for an injunction in federal court in March 2010, two months before the 2010 CTU election. They won against the Board's tactics to bar union members from meeting with each other to conduct union business.

Now, six years and (at least) five "chief executive officers" later, CPS officials are at it again. And it's quite possible that the Board is ignoring the last federal court order because there is no one left at the top of CPS who was around and could warn current leaders that the federal government has already ruled against them.

The last time this happened, Ron Huberman was "CEO" of Chicago Public Schools and Mary Richardson Lowry was President of the Board of Education. Then, as now, both were appointed by the city's mayor (then, Richard M. Daley; now, Rahm Emanuel).

This week, CPS officials informed the Chicago Teachers Union that they were banning this reporter (who is also a field rep for the CTU) from the schools. The ban came in a letter from Jadine Chou, chief of security for CPS, to the union. Supposedly, the banning took place because of rudeness.

A week earlier, CPS officials had blocked access to the schools for Troy LaRaviere, who is a candidate for president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA). LaRaviere, an outspoken critic of CPS policies and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was told that he was being removed from his position at principal of Blaine Elementary School, pending a "hearing." Immediately, CPS officials also blocked the entrances of Chicago schools where LaRaviere and his supporters had scheduled meetings as part of the CPAA election campaign.

The CTU announced in an email to delegates on May 11, that it will challenge the ban against this reporter. The precise nature of that challenge has yet to be determined.

No action has been taken in court or elsewhere by the CPAA on behalf of Troy LaRaviere's rights and the rights of those principals and administrators who support him in the current race to head the organization of principals, assistant principals, and CPS administrators.

[Disclosure: Dr. John Kugler has been working for the CTU as a field rep for the past six years and is also Local 743 Teamsters Shop Steward, representing the union's field reps].

The original Substance story from March 2010 is reprinted below. It can also be found at the following URL...

Lynch wins First Amendment fight against Huberman, Chicago ...

HUGE FIRST AMENDMENT VICTORY FOR CHICAGO TEACHERS!... United State Judge rules Huberman violated teachers' First Amendment rights... March 12, 2010 order barring meetings ruled unconstitutional...

By George N. Schmidt (April 2010)

The federal court has ruled that Chicago schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman and the Chicago Board of Education violated the First Amendment rights of teachers when Huberman issued an order to principals on March 12, 2010 barring opposition caucuses within the Chicago Teachers Union from distributing election materials and holding meetings about the upcoming CTU election in the city's more than 600 public schools.

In a ten-page decision, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve today (March 26, 2010) reviewed the facts and the law in the case of "Deborah Lynch et al v. Ron Huberman et al" and held that Huberman's actions violated the First Amendment rights of teachers and other union members.

"For the foregoing reasons," Judge St. Eve wrote at the end of her ten-page decision, "the Court grants Plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. Defendants [Huberman and the Chicago Board of Education] are prohibited from interfering with (i) Plaintiff's right to organize before and after school meetings in Chicago Public Schools during non-work hours to discuss their candidacies for elected union office and (ii) Plaintiff's right to have campaign literature distributed in school facilities, including school mailboxes, before and after school hours."

"This is a huge victory for all CTU members, and for everyone," Deborah Lynch told Substance after hearing about the decision. "The CTU leadership should have joined us in defending the First Amendment rights of union members against what Huberman tried to do."

Deborah Lynch served as President of the Chicago Teachers Union from July 2001 through July 2004, when she returned to teaching at Gage Park High School in Chicago following the victory of Marilyn Stewart in a hotly contested election. Lynch is again running for CTU President on the slate of the Pro Active Chicago Teachers and school employees caucus (PACT). The union election is on May 21, 2010.

"What Ron Huberman and the Board of Education did was wrong," attorney Jose Behar told Substance. "We are happy that the court has stopped them from trampling the First Amendment rights of Chicago teachers and other school workers." Jose Behar, a partner in the law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick Dym Ltd., was one of two attorneys who represented the plaintiffs in the case. The other was Socol Hughes associate Chris Wilmes.

The case was filed by Gage Park High School teacher Deborah Lynch and a group of members of her PACT caucus on Monday, March 22, following months of attempts by Lynch and her attorneys to stop Huberman from barring teacher election activities in the schools.

On March 12, 2010, as Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, Ron Huberman issued the most comprehensive attack on the First Amendment rights of Chicago teachers in more than 40 years. Huberman's March 12 order told principals to bar candidates for union office from the school under penalty of disciplinary action by Huberman against the principals under the CPS Employee Discipline Code. Teachers and other union members who campaigned or tried to distribute literature in the schools were also in danger of facing suspension or even termination for exercising their rights.

The March 12 Huberman memo came during the final weeks of petitioning for candidates in the upcoming CTU election, which is scheduled to be held in all schools on May 21. It had an immediate negative impact on all of the opposition groups planning to challenge incumbent CTU president Marilyn Stewart in the May 21 union election. Only Stewart, who was permitted to hold meetings in the schools as "official union business," was not negatively impacted by the Huberman order to principals.

All caucuses planning to oppose incumbent CTU President Marilyn Stewart reported that the chilling effect that resulted from the Huberman memo resulted in it becoming more difficult for them to get their nominating petitions signed. Due to the complex rules governing the CTU's elections, even the petitioning portion of the election is difficult (all candidates are required to have at least five percent of all eligible voters signing their nominating petitions).

Ted Dallas, who was forced out of the union's vice presidency by Marilyn Stewart after he reportedly opposed Stewart's 2007 contact agreement, told Substance that members of the Caucus for a Strong Democratic Union had been ordered to leave two schools during the final days of their petition drive, in both cases because principals said the March 12 Huberman order required it.

Ted Hajiharis, who is running for CTU President on the slate of the School Employee Alliance caucus, told Substance that he had been ordered out of schools during the final days of the petition signing, and that he was even ordered to leave the parking lot of Lane Technical High School because of the March 12 Huberman order.

A number of members of CORE (the Caucus of Rank and File Educators) reported to Substance that they had been restricted in their petitioning because of the March 12 Huberman memo. CORE candidate Michael Brunson testified on behalf of the PACT lawsuit on March 24.

Despite the barriers, at least four of the five opposition caucuses turned in their nominating petitions on March 23 by the 5:00 p.m. deadline. CTU officials refuse to return Substance phone calls asking how many slates of candidates have turned in petitions.

At the same time, CTU President Marilyn Stewart was busily holding "official union meetings" in the schools on a daily basis. Her official union business was not covered by the March 12 Huberman memo.

Substance has confirmed that there are at least five slates in the race:

Deborah Lynch's PACT caucus.

CORE, the Caucus Of Rank and file Educators, whose candidate for president in Karen Lewis.

CSDU, the Caucus for a Strong Democratic Union, whose presidential candidate is union treasurer Linda Porter.

The School Employee Alliance (SEA) caucus, which is running Ted Hajiharis for union president.

Representatives of CTU President Marilyn Stewart have told Substance that Stewart's United Progressive Caucus (UPC) has also submitted its nominating petitions. UPC has refused to provide Substance with a contact person to cover the election campaign.

Candidates will not become official until the April 7 meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates, when Financial Secretary Mark Ochoa reports on the vetting of all petitions and candidates. Ochoa is running for CTU vice president on Stewart's UPC ticket.

Teachers and others from the various caucuses had been discussing how difficult the Huberman order had made it during the final days of the petitioning. BOARD REFUSES TO COMMENT

Following the court decision, Substance requested comment from Ron Huberman and Board President Mary Richardson Lowry. Substance was told to leave a message for Huberman through Monique Bond, the Board's chief of communications. At press time the following day, Bond had not responded to the Substance request for comment. Huberman has refused to answer any press questions that come from Substance reporters for more than one year.

Substance left a detailed message for Mary Richardson Lowry with her secretary on March 26. HISTORY OF THE LITIGATION

By the weekend of March 20, Deborah Lynch had gotten together her group of plaintiffs and the attorneys drafted the motion, which was filed before the court on Monday, March 22, 2010.


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