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CTU Fires Beloved Long Time Field Rep Kugler

The Grinch stole Christmas for beloved Chicago Teachers Union Field Rep John Kugler after the CTU fired the long-time active fighter just before the holiday break.

Reposted from

http://secondcityteachers.blogspot.com

"The reason they say I was fired was filing complaints against CPS attorneys and saying that I hid it from CTU management," Kugler said in a statement to Second City Teachers. "I had no notice. I was fired on the spot and locked out of all my work and records immediately."

He said he was given two weeks during the Christmas Holiday to find a job and get insurance for his family of six.

An outpouring of support for Kugler on the teachers Facebook pages followed the announcement that was posted this week by former Pension Trustee and retired high school Teacher Bernie Eshoo who wrote, "Just heard that CTU leadership fired, highly regarded and long time rank and file supporter, field rep. Dr. John Kugler."

"This is a great loss for Members," David Benjamin wrote on the Members First fb page. "John was an experienced and knowledgeable field rep. There were so many times I reached out to him to get clarification or guidance when helping members."

"John Kugler is one of the field reps that members give accolades to consistently," wrote Kathleen Cleary. "What a terrible thing to do right before Christmas."

Kugler was the face of the CTU's historic radical fight back against the ruling business class that went to war against the teachers union and public education. The city's rulers were used to getting their way with the old company union until everything flipped when a group of "radical Trotskyites" took control of the union, as former Mayor Rahm Emanuel put it.

He was talking about people like John Kugler who got in everyone's face when going to bat for the union members. Kugler's fiery rhetoric, fighting spirit and keen mind forged what some would say was the heart and soul of a union that took it to the streets to fight back.

Kugler backed down to no one, whether it was the principals he was fighting or his bosses at the CTU headquarters on Carroll Street. He was a member of the Teamsters union and filed many grievances and lawsuits. His CTU bosses then said enough is enough and fired him.

The Teachers Union is known for purging any outspoken radicals who may have played a key role to help put the union in power. It is the classic playbook any group in power deploys in order to stay there.

His fellow field rep Joey McDermott was similarly fired for criticizing the union bosses despite his outstanding performance as a field rep who the teachers loved. Over 1200 "We were two field reps who filed grievances and called out leadership's dishonesty and malfeasance," McDermott wrote to Second City Teachers. "We both met a similar fate. This leadership is more concerned with maintaining their own power than they are concerned with serving our members." Everybody has a Kugler story. Here's mine: When Race to the Top was implemented after Core's historic win in 2010, the city's power brokers went to war against the union and its teachers. My principal and Mr. Kugler battled it out like a couple of gangsters vying for control of the streets. The teacher who told me about this explosive fight in the office said she then fainted as she saw both sides almost at each other's throats. I said to myself, damn - this union is in good hands!

Kugler never backed down to anyone, anywhere. When he was the delegate at Hyde Park High School, he was known to wear a tape recorder around his neck as he walked the hallways and would record any confrontations with the administrators.

He was so good he drove himself out of his jobs. He took his work very seriously, and always had time to talk to any member.

Kugler told me CPS always breaks its policies, the only way to stop it is by fighting them. Dr. Kugler and CTU President Karen Lewis who passed away last year both emphatically spoke about fighting back. Kugler took over the reigns of Substance News after editor and long-time union activist George Schmidt passed away in 2018. Schmidt was similarly fired by the union for his calling out his bosses, and fired many times as a teacher delegate because he always went to war with the principals. Mayor Richard Daley fired Schmidt and put him on a blacklist after he published the Case Exam questions to protest a silly standardized test that then CPS Chief Paul Vallas implemented on behalf of his corporate chieftains.

Kugler didn't miss a beat exposing the bosses including the union while he edited Substance. A recent article noted that the CTU lawyers led by Core founder Jackson Potter's mother Robin Potter will pocket most of the money from a settlement that faulted CPS for unfairly firing many black teachers during the massive school closings in 2013.

That type of courage puts a target on you.

Kugler said he will speak more about his case in the future. For now, he'll do what he's always done - fight the bosses!

McDermott, who settled his dismissal case with the union and is now back to being a high school teacher, said Kugler will contest his firing. "Unfortunately they will probably waste members dues money with another costly settlement," McDermott said. "They like to throw money at a problem to make someone disappear."

Reposted from

http://secondcityteachers.blogspot.com/2021/12/kugler-fired.html?m=1

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Hi, my name is Jim Vail. I am a Chicago Public School teacher and journalist. I believe in strong unions fighting for the working people, a strong public education for all and investigative reporting to expose corruption.

View my complete profile

http://secondcityteachers.blogspot.com



Comments:

December 25, 2021 at 9:54 AM

By: Chris

Karma

Is it something called KARMA?

With a sympathy pertinent to last events I would like to poit to the other side of the coin.

Was it fair to block grievances filled by a member? Was it fair to have a meetings with an attorney and charge for meals a member who actually was screwed up?

Was it fair to leave a group of friendsjust to join a winnig fraction because of the expectation of financial benefits?

December 25, 2021 at 12:37 PM

By: John Kugler

Cycle of Life

As the world turns like a merry-go-round,

sometimes you get to enjoy the ride,

sometimes you don't get on at all or

in very small cases you get thrown off.

It's the choices we make to be scared of being thrown off that ride and what we do with that fear that determines how we go forward.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2021 at 1:28 PM

By: Susan Hickey, LCSW

Angry about John's firing

When I heard about John's firing, I was angry at CTU. Telling him he's fired and told it was his last day is very anti-union on the part of CTU. CTU has been trying to find reason to get him out for some time. When I told other clinicians, they were upset as well and related how he helped them and others they knew. I hope he sues CTU.

December 26, 2021 at 3:15 PM

By: Chris

Susan

Thank you,Susan for being a sensitive human being.

Unfortunately,for a long time union employees

Serve themselves first and in many times refuse to understand ,that members pay for their services.

They failed but still their own pockets are the major concerns.

Members prefer to accept the ostrich strategy because the fear to be perceived wrongly.

December 27, 2021 at 1:58 PM

By: John Kugler

Fear vs Money

... one of the problems with current Chicago teachers' job security is surrendering tenure rights and system-wide seniority years ago ... a neo-liberal construct to dismantle organized labor to create chaos and fear to help control the workers ...

It is challenging to manage progress through contractual language that protects seniority since as people get older, performance wanes; therefore, most contracts protect seniority.

As such as people get older, they tend to protect their livelihood and not speak out against employer abuses for fear of termination or punishment which may sacrifice ideas of the golden years of retirement.

The other issue becomes the philosophy of those that have power ... do individual rights have a higher position on priorities than politics or community building ... this is not to say one is more important than another. It begs the question, of when organizations shift toward upcoming issues that can affect both the individual members and the membership.

The best indicator of activism related to workers is the public record of individuals and organizations as they tend to protect the individual rather than the interest of the whole. This dilemma is to be managed, not answered.

As far as the fear of financial insecurity, the question should be asked who is responsible for that security and what is being done about it.

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