CTU Cancel Culture Declares War on Whistle Blowers & Those Who Question

CTU Cancel Culture Declares War on Whistle Blowers & Those Who Question

By Jim Vail

Lindblom High School teacher Drew Heiserman and long-time Core member and leader is about to be canceled.

The Chicago Teachers Union and its Core leadership team does not like free speech, whistle blowers or those who ask serious questions.

So they cancel them, in the spirit of cancel culture.

Drew Heiserman, a Core member who has been with the group since it began, is the latest victim.

The CTU executive board member and former Core steering committee member has been brought up on charges by the Core leadership team of harassment for asking questions about a recent pension election.

While the outcome has yet to be determined, Core has demonstrated a pattern of ousting members in key positions who dare to blow a whistle or question what the leadership is doing.

I was kicked off the Political Action Committee because I didn't agree with the political agenda that aligned itself closely with the Democratic Party. Reggie O'Connor, who chaired the legislative committee was also booted from her position for asking questions the union did not like when it came to making certain political endorsements.

I asked CTU President Jesse Sharkey about this at a House of Delegates meeting and he said that the union will remove members from committees if they feel they are obstructing the work of the committee.

Former CTU field rep Joey McDermott questioned why certain union employees were involved in political campaigning when they were working on the union's dime. He was brought up on charges of misconduct and dismissed. McDermott filed a grievance to win his job back, charging the union with firing a whistle blower.

"I have filed four grievances specially alleging harassment, retaliation and/or discriminatory treatment," he wrote. "My alleged conduct was related to incidents while I reported illegal and/or ethical conduct. CTU staff campaigning for elected officials on work time."

McDermott said over 200 people wrote letters on his behalf to be reinstated. He is currently teaching in high school.

When it comes to disciplining recalcitrant Core members, getting canceled happens more often than not. Earl Silbar was an associate member who pointed out the sell out the Core leadership engineered with SB7 that took away teachers' seniority rights. His criticism led the CTU Executive Board to issue a resolution denouncing the union's position on SB7.

Earl was ousted.

Former Substance Editor George Schmidt, who has always been critical of union leadership while editing a muckraking newspaper for over 30 years, worked as a consultant to the union when Core was first elected in 2010.

He too was brought up on certain charges for questioning the leadership and was about to be kicked out until a groundswell of support generated from many black teachers prevented Core was kicking him out.

Free speech is particularly not welcome, especially if you attend any official union meetings.

Former President Karen Lewis used to say, "Loose Lips Sink Ships," implying that teachers should keep their mouths shut when they attend delegates meeting or else they will cause harm for the union. That message rings loud and clear at almost every delegates meeting, where any of the officers will tell delegates to not say anything outside the meeting (unless it's in a closed room in their school building?).

Core founder Jackson Potter implemented this strategy of attacking whistle blowers and warning teachers not to speak about what is discussed in union meetings. Before Core was elected union leaders never told teachers to keep their mouths shut.

Heiserman has been a member of CORE since 2008 when he served on the leadership team or Steering Committee. He was also the former editor of CORE Issues and chair of the CTU Public Relations and Communications Committee for 8 years. He was also a CTU Trustee who overlooks the union's finances and today serves as a CTU Area Vice President.

"I didn't (and still don't) trust the process because it is rooted in an attempt to punish me for being a whistleblower," he wrote in a letter to Core.

Heiserman questioned the allegations of "harassment" and "discrimination" against him when he did not name any Core members who complained. Core has a policy that reads: "No CORE member may harass or discriminate against anyone on the basis - real or perceived - of race, religion, creed, ethnicity, age, disability, gender presentation or expression, or sexual orientation.

"What justification does the Steering Committee have for using inflammatory rhetoric like 'unsubstantiated gossip and false accusations,'" he wrote.

Heiserman fears a smear campaign will be the next step taken to oust him completely.

Teachers have complained that they have been kicked off the CTU Members Facebook page. Certainly, those who control the medium control the message, and if they feel certain comments go against what the union is fighting for, then they can just pull the plug.

It was done with President Trump when the attack on Capitol Hill led to Twitter shutting down his account.

CTU communications director Ronnie Reese, who monitors the CTU social media pages, said to quote the late Karen Lewis - does it unify us? Does it make us stronger?

If not, off with their heads!

Ironically, this is the same argument Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her big business sponsors make to argue against having an elected school board. There would be too much fighting among various interests.

Does the union know what's best for its members, and those who disagree should just keep their mouths shut?

Another teachers caucus named Members First would disagree.

Second City Teachers will talk to them next about what it means to have alternative voices unedited and uncensored.


Posted by Jvail900 at 1:13 PM


March 5, 2021 at 9:04 AM

By: Susan Hickey, LCSW

CORE's bullying

As a non-CORE member, I watched the bullying and disrespect certain CORE members have done to their own and to the rest of us. I will write an article detailing my experience with them. They hated the fact I had to be put into the leadership role for clinicians.

March 28, 2021 at 7:27 PM

By: Chris

The past

For years I attempted to wake you up.

You supported a communist movement,not the Union.Finally you opened your eyes.Too late.

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