Marilyn Stewart to hire a new CTU field rep... No union experience necessary

A visitor to the Chicago Teachers Union Website ( to see if there were any explanation of what Marilyn Stewart, Lynn Cherkasky Davis, and Marc Wigler were doing cheering Arne Duncan's shout out to charter schools Friday at the Regency Hyatt wouldn't learn a thing about the CTU's relationship to "Advance Illinois".

Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart apparently doesn't want a union field rep to have experience as a union delegate. In advertising for the job, Stewart's Chief of Staff John Ostenburg required that prospective union reps have three letters of recommendation but did not require that the rep have any school-level experience leading or representing union members. it wouldn't be the first time Stewart has shown her disrespect for the delegates who work in the schools. The CTU adopted the 'Fresh Start' program and made it a national showpiece for Education Secretary Arne Duncan without ever having submitted the details of the controversial program to the union's delegates. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Instead of finding something about Advance Illinois and the CTU relationship to this massive corporate attack on public schools, the visitor might stumble across the following which is reprinted below (in italics) as it appears at this moment (six p.m. June 21, 2009) on the official Web site of the Chicago Teachers Union CTU is still the third largest K-12 local in the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), although membership has been declining fast as a combination of poor representation of members, dictatorial handling of House of Delegates meetings, and teacher dues that will soon surpass $1,000 per year has members across Chicago demanding to know what Marilyn Stewart and the other staff members of the union are doing.

A visitor to the CTU Web site might think at first that she had missed the part of the advertisement that said something like: "Experience as a CTU delegate required. Please provide the union with a description of union-related activities at the school and other levels. If you have not served your members in a school or citywide role as a union leader, please do not apply for this job..."

But, no.

But the ad makes sense. After all, the "Chief of Staff" of the Chicago Teachers Union (to whom people have to apply for the job) has no experience as a delegate in a Chicago Public School and the actual experience of the President of the CTU was less than exemplary when she held the post at Kinzie Elementary School. So why should an incoming field rep be able to show that she has ever represented or led the members in any way?

Here is what the CTU is advertising as of now:


The Chicago Teachers Union is looking for applicants for the position of Teacher Field

Representative. Interested parties, who meet the following qualifications, should submit

• a letter of application, including explanation of why they desire to be considered

for the position,

• a resume that includes specific details regarding the stated qualifications for the

post, and

• three letters of recommendation.


• A minimum of five years experience as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools

and active membership in good standing in the Chicago Teachers Union.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills.

• Computer skills.

• Good skills in interaction with individuals, even in sometimes difficult


• A record of honest and reliable performance in previous work roles.

• A valid driver’s license from the State of Illinois and the ability to operate a motor


• Availability for travel.

• An advanced degree and/or other professional training – while not required – will

be viewed as beneficial.

Applications should be submitted to

John A. Ostenburg

Chief of Staff

Chicago Teachers Union

222 Merchandise Mart Plaza

Chicago, IL 60654

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, June 26, 2009.


June 22, 2009 at 9:06 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that I've read a CTU ad like this. It doesn't appear that the Union encourages proof that the field rep has served as an advocate for teachers. Very few field reps have shown a dedication to serving individual teachers in the schools but rather appear to out just to collect the salary and benefits and do as little advocacy as possible.

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