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Chicago Teachers Union Caught Changing Election Rules

Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on Thursday, April 14, charging that an election rule had been violated when the Union allowed candidates of all caucuses an extension to file a form indicating the caucus slate with which they were running. Officer candidates from all slates timely filed the slate consent forms, but various AFT and IFT convention delegate candidates from the core caucus had missed the initial deadline for the slate consent forms. The Union’s Rules & Elections Committee, which oversees internal CTU elections, had granted those who neglected to file the form an additional four days to declare their caucus after the fact and fater the rules were made.

There were no House of Delegate votes to accept these rule changes for the May 20, 2022 CTU elections. The lawsuit is below.

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS COUNTY DEPARTMENT, CHANCERY DIVISION

THERESE BOYLE,

MARY ESPOSITO-USTERBOWSKI,

CASSANDRA HOGGATT, MARÍA SOTO,

PHILIP WEISS

Plaintiffs, Case No:

v.

CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION and

MARIA T. MORENO,

Defendants.

Case No: 2022CH03351

FILED DATE: 4/13/2022 9:31 AM 2022CH03351

Verified Complaint for Breach of Contract and Injunctive Relief

Plaintiff, Therese Boyle, a member of the Chicago Teachers Union, Mary Esposito- Usterbowski, Cassandra Hoggatt, María Soto, and Philip Weiss, candidates for officers of Chicago Teachers Union, by and through their attorneys Gregory W. Hosé and Gregorio & Marco, complain against Defendants, the Chicago Teachers Union and Maria T. Moreno, and allege as follows:

1. The Plaintiff brings this action to seek injunctive relief and to enforce the contract that exists among the members of Defendant Chicago Teachers Union (“CTU”). Defendants purported to amend the rules governing the election of union officers and convention delegates without following proper procedure. Defendants have, therefore, threatened irreparable harm to the contractual rights of all candidates for CTU union officer and convention delegate, and all CTU members.

The Parties

2. Plaintiff Therese Boyle is a member of CTU and chairperson of the Members First slate of candidates in the 2022 CTU Officers Election. Ms. Boyle is a member of the Rules- Election Committee at CTU. Ms. Boyle is a resident of the City of Chicago.

3. Plaintiff Mary Esposito-Usterbowski is a member of CTU and candidate for President of CTU on the Members First slate of candidates. Ms. Esposito-Usterbowski is a resident of the City of Chicago.

4. Plaintiff Cassandra Hoggatt is a member of CTU and candidate for Vice President of CTU on the Members First slate of candidates. Ms. Hoggatt is a resident of the Cook County.

5. Plaintiff María Soto is a member of CTU and candidate for Recording Secretary of CTU on the Members First slate of candidates. Ms. Soto is a resident of the City of Chicago.

6. Plaintiff Philip Weiss is a member of CTU and candidate for Financial Secretary of CTU on the Members First slate of candidates. Mr. Weiss is a resident of the City of Chicago.

7. Defendant Chicago Teachers Union is an unincorporated labor association residing and doing business in the City of Chicago.

8. Defendant Maria T. Moreno is the Financial Secretary of CTU. Ms. Moreno is a resident of the City of Chicago.

Jurisdiction and Venue

9. This Court has jurisdiction and venue over this matter as the actions at issue occurred within Cook County and the City of Chicago. Jurisdiction exists under 735 ILCS 5/2- 209(a)(7) (breach of contract) and 735 ILCS 5/11-101 (temporary restraining order). Venue is proper in this judicial circuit pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-101 to 2-203 and 710 ILCS 5/17 as one or more of the Defendants reside in or have a principal place of business in Cook County, Illinois.

Factual Allegations

10. Defendant CTU is in the process of an election to select its leadership and delegates to conventions of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the America Federation of Teachers, its parent organizations. CTU holds union leadership elections every three (3) years.

11. Defendant CTU is governed by a Constitution and By-Laws. A true and correct copy of the Constitution and By-Laws is attached hereto as Exhibit A.

12. The CTU Constitution and By-Laws constitute a contract by and among the members of CTU.

13. All members of CTU, including Plaintiff, have a right to, and interest in, a free and fairly conducted leadership election pursuant to the Constitution and By-Laws. All members of CTU and candidates for officer and delegate of CTU have a right to the proper application and enforcement of CTU’s Constitution and By-Laws.

14. The CTU By-Laws vest the power to create Rules for Election in the CTU House of Delegates. (Ex. A at Article V, Section 1(d), page 21.) “Rules for Election – The House of Delegates shall adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of the election which shall be held on the third Friday in the school month of May.” (Id.)

15. The CTU By-Laws do not vest the power to create Rules for Election in any other committee or entity.

16. On or about February 2, 2022, the CTU House of Delegates adopted the Rules for the Nomination and Election of Officers of the Chicago Teachers Union and of Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the 2022 and 2024 AFT Conventions and the October 2022 IFT Convention (“Rules for Election”), a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit B.

17. Section III.D. states that the Supervision of Election is to be undertaken by the Rules-Elections Committee, in conjunction with the Financial Secretary. They “shall supervise all aspects of the election, including the preparation and distribution of the ballots …” (Ex. B.)

18. Defendant Moreno is the Financial Secretary and an elected CTU Officer.

19. The By-Laws do not grant to the Rules-Election Committee the authority to draft, create, or amend any rules related to CTU officer and delegate elections.

20. Candidates for election for CTU officer and delegate may join together on a slate of candidates. Alternatively, candidates for CTU officer or delegate may choose to run individually.

21. Candidates who submit sufficient petition signatures to qualify for the ballot but do not appear on a slate are listed on the ballot as Independent Candidates

22. A candidate who submits sufficient petition signatures but does not submit the required paperwork to appear on a slate would appear on the ballot as an Independent Candidate. No such candidate loses their right to run for CTU officer or delegate.

23. All candidates for CTU officer and delegate must be nominated by petition, either by slate or individually. (Ex. B at Section VI.1.1.)

24. Every candidate choosing to run on a slate of candidates must manifest in writing their consent to run on the slate. “Nominees choosing to run on a slate must each consent in writing to run on the slate and the slate must have a designated name. The consents and the slate name shall be submitted to the Financial Secretary with the nominating petitions.” (Id. at Section VI.1.2.)

25. The Rules-Election Committee distributed the “CTU Officers’ Election Written Consent Designated Form (“Consent Form”) to be used by candidates to declare their consent to

run on a slate. A true and correct copy of the Consent Form is attached hereto as Exhibit C. The Consent Form states “[t]he deadline for submission is Friday, March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.” (Ex. C) (emphasis original.)

26. The petition packet distributed to candidates at the CTU office beginning on February 18, 2022 included the Consent Form.

27. Individuals who picked up packets were required to sign for the petition packet, which included the Consent Form.

28. CTU advertised on its website the deadline for returning petitions for nomination and Consent Forms as March 25, 2022. A true and correct copy of the Notice of 2022 Nomination and Election is attached hereto as Exhibit D. (Ex. D, available at https://www.ctulocal1.org/wp-

content/uploads/2022/02/Notice-of-2022-Officer-Election-1.pdf and accessed on April 11, 2022.)

29. On or about March 28, 2022, Plaintiff received an e-mail from Norma E. Albor, Membership & General Office Assistant at CTU, notifying Plaintiff that certain members of the Members First slate of candidates did not return their Consent Forms. Ms. Albor further stated that the consent forms should be filed no later than Friday, April 1, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. and attached a copy of the Consent Form. A true and correct copy of this e-mail is attached hereto as Exhibit E.

30. Neither Ms. Albor, nor her superior, Defendant Moreno, had authority to extend the deadline to submit Consent Forms.

31. Upon information and belief, similar e-mails regarding missing slate consent forms were sent to all other slates of candidates running in the CTU election. Upon information and belief, these e-mails listed the candidates on each slate who did not comply with the March 25, 2022, deadline for submitting consent forms.

32. On or about Monday, April 4, 2022, the Rules-Election Committee met to consider an extension of the March 25, 2022 deadline for submitting consent forms.

33. Plaintiff is a member of the Rules-Election Committee.

34. At the April 4, 2022 meeting of the Rules-Election Committee, the Rules-Election Committee considered a motion to amend the Rules for Election by extending the deadline for candidates to submit the Consent Form.

35. At the April 4, 2022 meeting of the Rules-Election Committee, the purported amendment to the Rules for Election extending the deadline for candidates to submit the Consent Form passed.

36. The Rules-Election Committee did not have the authority to amend the Rules for Election to extend the deadline.

37. The CTU House of Delegates met on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. The House of Delegates did not consider or take any action on the purported amendment to the Rules for Election considered by the Rules-Election Committee extending the deadline for candidates to submit the Consent Form beyond March 25, 2022.

38. On or about April 6, 2022, Plaintiff filed a protest of the decision of the Rules- Election Committee purporting to extend the Consent Form deadline beyond March 25, 2022. Plaintiff filed her protest via e-mail to Defendant Moreno, Sue Sebesta, chair of the Rules-Election Committee, Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, and CTU General Counsel Robert Bloch. A copy of this protest is attached hereto as Exhibit F.

39. On or about April 7, 2022, the Rules-Election Committee announced via e-mail a special meeting of the Rules-Election Committee regarding Plaintiff’s protest to take place on Monday, April 11, 2022. (Ex. F.)

40. On or about April 8, 2022, Defendant Moreno informed Plaintiff by e-mail that the finalized list of certified candidates has been transmitted to the ballot printing company.

41. On or about April 8, 2022, the Rules-Election Committee rescheduled the special meeting of the Rules Election Committee from April 11, 2022 to April 15, 2022.

42. No ruling has been given on the protest filed by Plaintiff with the Rules-Election Committee.

COUNT I – Breach of Contract

43. Plaintiff realleges paragraphs 1-42 as if more fully stated herein.

44. The CTU By-Laws vest the ability and the right to pass Rules for Election only with the House of Delegates.

45. Neither the CTU Constitution nor the CTU By-Laws grant power to the Rules- Election Committee to amend the Rules for Election passed by the House of Delegates.

46. The CTU House of Delegates set the date for filing of Consent Forms to be March 25, 2022.

47. The March 25, 2022 deadline for filing Consent Forms was not properly extended.

48. Permitting any candidate to appear on the ballot on a slate without having filed a Consent Form before March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. constitutes a breach of the Rules for Election and the CTU By-Laws.

49. Defendant Moreno and the Rules-Election Committee have a duty under the CTU By-Laws to apply the Rules for Election as passed by the House of Delegates in order to ensure a free and fair election.

50. Enforcing any amendment to the Rules for Election not passed by the House of Delegates constitutes a breach of the CTU By-Laws by Defendants.

51. Failure to enforce the Rules for Election passed by the CTU House of Delegates constitutes a breach of the CTU By-Laws by Defendants.

52. Printing of ballots that list candidates in a manner that is not in compliance with the Rules for Election passed by the CTU House of Delegates violates the Rules for Election.

53. Waiting for the April 15, 2022 special meeting of the Rules-Election Committee is futile as Defendants have already begun printing incorrect election ballots.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that this Honorable Court:

A. Enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendants Chicago Teachers Union, and Maria Moreno;

B. Order that Defendants identify and produce to Plaintiff all Consent Forms filed on or before March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.;

C. Order that Defendants identify and produce to Plaintiff all Consent Forms filed after March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.;

D. Order that Defendants enforce the Consent Form deadline of March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.;

E. Order that Defendants stop printing any ballots not in compliance with the Consent Form deadline of March 25, 2022 and terminate any printing of ballots ordered from any third party entity.

F. Order that all candidates who did not meet the Consent Form deadline of March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. be listed on the ballot as Independent Candidates and not be permitted to appear on the ballot as a member of any slate of candidates.

G. Order that any ballots listing candidates who did not meet the Consent Form deadline of March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. not be distributed and that these ballots be destroyed;

H. Order that ballots in compliance with the Consent Form deadline of March 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. be printed and used for the upcoming election;

I. Grant such other and further relief as this Honorable Court deems just under the circumstances.

Respectfully submitted,

Therese Boyle, et al.

By: /s/ Gregory W. Hosé One of their Attorneys

Gregory W. Hosé ARDC# 6291642

Gregorio ♦ Marco Attorney #: 54727 Attorney for Plaintiffs

2 North LaSalle Street, Suite 1650

Chicago, IL 60602 312/263-2343



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