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[ Breaking Story ] Chicago Teachers Union Violation of Federal Election Rules by CORE Confirmed by Unions own Lawyer

In a fast-moving story, the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union has been now accused of violated federal election rules for its officer elections coming up on May 20, 2022 by another group running for Union office and its own General Counsel.

An April 18, letter signed by members of the REAL Caucus outlines the evidence and facts of CTU leaderships violation of federal rules for Union elections.

It was clear that the ruling party controlled by Jackson Potter was missing 154 consent forms and then called a special meeting to change the rules to benefit Stacy Davis Gates and extend the deadline to hand in the forms.

CTU General Counsel Robert Bloch wrote in an earlier matter that changing election rules after they were adopted:

"would violate federal law governing union elections to amend candidate eligibility rules after the elections process has commenced. The Election Rules were approved by HOD on February 2, 2022 and issued to the membership shortly thereafter[ ... ] To modify the rules regarding eligibility for office after the election rules were formally approved, after nominating petitions have been released, in the midst of the petition period and after the deadline for submitting Charter Division petitions, would unlawfully alter candidate eligibility rules mid-stream." (Memorandum from Robert Bloch to Jesse Sharkey, March 28, 2022.)

Members First Chicago filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, April 13, against the Chicago Teachers Union. It is alleged the election process was tampered with when the Union allowed candidates of all caucuses an extension to file a form indicating the caucus slate they were running on. [slates are political parties inside the union]

Officer candidates from all slates timely filed the slate consent forms.

Still, various AFT and IFT convention delegate candidates from the CORE caucus [the ruling party under Stacy Davis Gates] had missed the initial deadline for the slate consent forms.

The Union's Rules & Elections Committee, which oversees internal CTU elections, granted those who neglected to file the form an additional four days to declare their caucus after the fact and after the rules were made.

Members First objected to the extension during the Rules and Elections meeting, saying it was changing the rules in the middle of an election.

There was no vote of the Executive Board or the House of Delegates the governing bodies of the Union to approve this change.

The Chicago Teachers Union admits to these changes in its response to the lawsuit, saying the deadline's extension was an "insignificant effect" on the election process.

The Union goes on to state there are no rules that say the rules can not be changed.

"Plaintiffs have cited no prohibition on extending the deadline for consent forms"

REAL Caucus has now conformed with their open letter to CTU leadership that this constituted election fraud.

April 18, 2022 REAL Caucus Letter

The REAL caucus of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) became aware of the Members First caucus lawsuit against the CTU when CTU Leadership alerted members via email on the afternoon of April 15, 2022. The REAL caucus is not a party to the lawsuit, but we understand the frustration that brought it about. The February 2022 House of Delegates meeting set March 25, 2022 as the deadline for petitions and a consent form for each candidate listed on the ballot as a caucus member, otherwise they would be listed as an Independent candidate with no caucus affiliation. REAL submitted our petitions with one consent form missing. Members First submitted their petitions and were missing 11 consent forms.

The incumbent CORE caucus was missing 154 consent forms. The Chair of Rules & Election committee, a CORE member, then called an emergency meeting to change the rules to give caucuses four more days to submit their consent forms after the March 25, 2022 deadline. The committee chair and every committee member is appointed by the CTU president. Eight CORE members on the committee voted to extend the deadline for consent forms over the objections of the two committee members from other caucuses. The problem with that move - and the basis for the lawsuit by Members First - is that the Rules & Election Committee does not have the power to change the rules once they are approved by the House of Delegates. CTU General Counsel Robert Bloch wrote that changing election rules after they were adopted "would violate federal law governing union elections to amend candidate eligibility rules after the elections process has commenced. The Election Rules were approved by HOD on February 2, 2022 and issued to the membership shortly thereafter[ ... ] To modify the rules regarding eligibility for office after the election rules were formally approved, after nominating petitions have been released, in the midst of the petition period and after the deadline for submitting Charter Division petitions, would unlawfully alter candidate eligibility rules mid-stream." (Memorandum from Robert Bloch to Jesse Sharkey, March 28, 2022.) Bloch, citing CTU Bylaws, Article XIV, further stated that changes to the election bylaws could only be made through a Constitutional amendment. This was a step CTU leadership failed to take.

The REAL caucus had multiple members ruled ineligible for placement on the CTU ballot because they took CTU-sanctioned unpaid leaves of absence during the COVID pandemic. The CTU did not inform members that their leaves may disqualify them from running in the upcoming elections. These disqualified members offered to pay back dues to reinstate their good standing. REAL brought this issue to the Rules & Election Committee and CTU Leadership. The CTU Leadership refused to interpret the bylaws in a manner that would recognize the unprecedented nature of the pandemic despite the Union's own encouragement for members to take leave to protect their health. CTU leadership chose to stand by the letter of the law when it suited them, but changed the rules when the rules didn't serve their own interests. Additionally, CTU Leadership used union resources to communicate their message alleging that the Members First lawsuit was frivolous. This is a clear case of electioneering. It represents an attempt by CORE to sway members against a rival caucus and promote its own candidacy. We call on CTU officers to cease and desist from using office staff and members' dues money to enhance CORE's re-election campaign. We call on CTU officers to follow the CTU Constitution.

We call on CTU leadership to end their interference with the integrity of our internal democratic process. The REAL caucus values democracy and transparency and challenges current leadership to uphold our CTU Constitution.

Darnell A. Dowd, REAL Presidential Candidate

Joseph McDermott, REAL Vice-Presidential Candidate

Alison Eichhorn, REAL Financial Secretary Candidate

Erika Meza, REAL Recording Secretary Candidate

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Both the lawsuit and the Chicago Teachers Union response are below.

Members First vs. Chicago Teachers Union Verified Complaint File Stamped With Filestamped Exhibits Case No. 22-CH-03351

https://www.scribd.com/document/570202671/Members-First-vs-Chicago-Teachers-Union-Verified-Complaint-File-Stamped-With-Filestamped-Exhibits-Case-No-22-CH-03351

Motion to Dismiss Members First vs. Chicago Teachers Union Verified Complaint File Stamped With Filestamped Exhibits Case No. 22-CH-03351

https://www.scribd.com/document/570202796/Motion-to-Dismiss-Members-First-vs-Chicago-Teachers-Union-Verified-Complaint-File-Stamped-With-Filestamped-Exhibits-Case-No-22-CH-03351



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