Members First December meeting, panel of experts will provide information on impacts of union charter school merger proposal

Rather than win a strong contract for the current dues paying members of the CTU, the current CORE leadership is trying to make up for dues they have lost or given away by bringing in "new" dues payers via a controversial amalgamation with ChiACTS, the charter schools union. Although the leadership and a small group of their supporters have been giving speeches about "stronger together," most members are aware of the dangers, from various contract expiration dates to muddled explanations of how much charter "teachers" will be paying in CTU dues. A growing number of CTU members are also noting that the union leadership sold out on the issue of class size, a win that would have easily made up for lost members.The December meeting for the union group Members First will take place on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 5:30 PM at Connie’s Pizza (2373 S. Archer). Any and all CTU members are welcome. A panel discussion is planned and will include: 1) an accountant familiar with private sector union issues; 2) someone from the U.S. Department of Labor familiar with related regulations; and 3) a labor leader familiar with issues that have arisen with private and public sector unions merging. CTU members have not been well- if at all informed of legislative rules and regulations regarding the proposed merger of private charter school unions with their present-tense-but-possibly-not-future-tense, public sector union. Nor have the members been informed of possible negative ramifications or impacts. We have only basically been told such as, “There will be complications” and “It will be messy.”

CTU’s House of Delegates (HOD) will vote at its December 13, 2017 meeting in favor of or against the proposed charter school merger, along with all the other constitutional proposals presented in a one-for-all vote format from the Executive Board. A quorum was not present to conduct the vote as scheduled for the November HOD meeting.

Members First leadership contends that the process has been too rushed for something so important, especially with the vote set up as all or nothing on the changes. Too many delegates and CTU members have not yet been informed enough by CTU on the issues related to the constitutional changes being proposed. Thusly, Members First is setting up the informational session for at least the charter school merger.

The Constitutional Preamble additions that Members First finds troubling are proposed as follows: “to unify the educators of traditional public schools and public charter schools in the City of Chicago, together with other Chicago-area educators that may join with this Union” and “to promote racial, economic and social justice in order to achieve educational justice and build community and labor collations to achieve that objective.”

Members First contends (as its name states) that CTU members have not been and continue to not be the focus of CTU leadership as they should be, and the proposed Constitution Preamble changes will only increase and intensify that focus away from the dues-paying membership. Current dues for teacher members of the CTU are now more than $1,100 per year.

A major criticism of the current CTU membership is that the union's leaders have been refusing to practice the "transparency" that they claim to support in theory. Many delegates and members have waited in vain for the CTU's current leadership to provide detailed information about union expenses, PAC contributions, and, most lately, the budgets of the "Chicago Teachers Union Foundation." For decades, the CTU has refused to file the required federal LM2 forms, which almost all unions in the United States submit every year (including the American Federation of Teachers and most AFT locals). Were the CTU to bring in the charter school workers, it is likely that the CTU would finally be required to file the LM2. The information in the LM2 is extensive, as is noted by the Association for Union Democracy:

"What’s on an LM-2 form? The LM-2 Form will tell you when the next union election is, how many members the union has, the salaries of officers and staff, andother useful information, including: “whether the union has any subsidiary organizations; whether the union has a political action committee (PAC); whether the union discovered any loss or shortage of funds; number of members; rates of dues and fees; 7 asset categories such as cash and investments; 4 liability categories such as accounts payable and mortgages payable; 16 receipt categories such as dues and interest; 18 disbursement categories such as payments to officers and repayment of loans obtained; a schedule of payments to officers; a schedule of payments to employees; a schedule of office and administrative expense; a schedule of loans payable” and more."


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