UNION NEWS: Instead of stalling the discussion and debate on the CTU budget (and ignoring the CTU Foundation budget completely) the union's officers should have called a special meeting so that delegates could get clear answers on the budget before voting...

When it became clear to the union's school delegates that the agenda for the June meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates had been designed to stall discussion and debate on the actual CTU budget until as late as possible on June 7, 2017, one possible option to ensure union democracy was to hold a special meeting of the House of Delegates. Special meetings have been scheduled and held within the past two years on items the leadership wanted, so the idea was nothing new. And unlike the past, the expenses for delegate meetings are less in 2017 now that the union (through the "CTU Foundation") owns the space where the meetings take place.

But CTU President Karen Lewis and Vice President Jesse Sharkey acted as if the union would be forced to cease operations if the union's delegates did not vote on a proposed budget on June 7, 2017, despite the fact that there are (as of this writing) 22 days left before the current CTU budget expires and a new one is necessary.

One rumor on June 8, 2017, is that a group of delegates will be circulating a petition among the union members and delegates demanding that the leadership honor the quorum call which ended the meeting on June 7 before the budget vote and schedule a meeting devoted exclusively to the budget discussion (questions from delegates and schools) and debate on the budget which will take the union from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

As of this writing, the union's teacher members pay nearly $1,100 per year in union dues, and a growing number of members and delegates are demanding to know how their dues money is being spent. The answers, as the report on the June 7, 2017 delegates meeting make clear, are not forthcoming. And any member who tries to unscramble to finances of the Chicago Teachers Union by exploring the union's website ( leaves perplexed. Despite the claim by the current leadership caucus (CORE, of which this reporter is a member) that the CTU should be "transparent," as both the June 7 meeting and the CTU website make clear, transparency about union (and "Foundation") finances is not a concern of the officers of the CTU (who are also paid officers of the "CTU Foundation" by the way).

As I was one of the founding members of CORE, I have been particularly disappointed as the current leadership of the union (and the CORE caucus) have refused to provide even the most basic information to those who are paying $1,100 per year in union dues. CORE continues to try and dominate union debates, but more and more CORE members have become openly opposed to the route taken by the current officers and, from time to time, the union's Executive Board.