"They are Racist" African American CTU Employees United: End the Racial Discrimination and Institutional Racism at the Chicago Teachers Union

core was not organizing black teachers ever in the Chicago school system. They never had any connections with black teachers in CTU. Toni Barnes was one of the the first displaced teacher working with black teachers to help them gain some rights and dignity after they were laid off from Chicago Public Schools. CORE hijacked the organizing, and years later, Jackson Potter's mother made 4 million dollars from a lawsuit from the early organizing that Toni did in the early day of mass teacher layoffs.

Teacher Antoinette ('Toni') Barnes (above, speaking) had organized DARTS when it became clear that displaced teachers were being railroaded out of the Chicago Public Schools by Arne Duncan (and later, Ron Huberman) under policies and laws backed by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Barnes helped the teachers at the June 29 meeting understand the implications of the legal actions and grievance actions they had to take. Substance photo by John Kugler.

African American CTU Employees United End the Racial Discrimination and Institutional Racism at the Chicago Teachers Union Since July 1, 2010, there has been an undeniable pattern and practice of institutional racism and discrimination against African American employees of the Chicago teachers Union.

Every current Black CTU employee is working in an unhealthy, unsafe and increasing hostile workplace in which their economic security, mental health and physical well-being is under constant assault. This pattern of behavior and open hostility toward African Americans in shocking in the face of the public's belief that the CTU fights against racial injustice and is one of the best labor organizations in the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No one in the CTU is color-blind.

The current leadership clearly embraces social, political, cultural, ethnic and racial differences as these things are prominent in all CTU platforms. It is also undeniable that since this leadership took charge of the CTU that the majority of employees fired, terminated, demoted, forced out, forced into retirement, targeted for removal, ridiculed, publicly maligned and insulted have been 97.3% African American.

In fact, the last five terminations have all involved African American people."

This statistic is also shocking in that it is well known that the CTU has been vocal about the unjust and systemic firing of African Americans from the Board of Education. The reduction of Black teachers, clinicians and paraprofessionals, mirrors the CTU's own internal workings, where the administrative, OTEG and Grievance staff have seen reductions of Blacks in their ranks since this leadership took over in 2010.

WHY WE CAME TOGETHER Therefore current and former African American employees of the Chicago Teachers Union have met, organized and are considering how to legally and physically protect themselves against this hostile and shocking assault on them as a group, classified as minorities, by the U.S. Constitutions. While many current are in fear of losing their jobs, being demoted, arbitrarily written up, forced out and/or having their white paper contracts revoked, those who are no longer work for the CTU are united to protect our brothers and sisters in this labor organization and are prepared to publicly share this information with CTU's rank-and-file members, the general public, the news media, and legal counsel in order to seek remedy from this pattern of wrongdoing within the Chicago Teachers Union. These individuals include, but are not limited to:

Augustine Johnson – Forced to Retire

Linda Newsome — Terminated

Rosita Chatonda —Terminated

Dr. Lyentte Danley — Terminated

Antoinette Barnes — Terminated

Dr. Karl Hubert, Esq. — Forced Out

Michael Harrington — Laid Off-Permanent

Barbara McKenzie — Fired Carolyn Fulton — Missing


This institutional racism and hostile culture toward African Americans is not limited former employees, some of whom threatened to file lawsuits in order to remedy the wrongs done to them by the CTU.

Though this document is not representative of any of these people as individuals, nearly all of them have faced some sort of specific hostile and racist incident within the wall of the Chicago Teachers Union or as a result of the ruling CORE Caucus including: Greg Cox, Lue Esther Jackson, Stacy Davis-Gates, Romel Ferguson, Christel Williams, Stephanie Gadlin, Audrey May, Brandon Johnson, April Stigger, Connie Thorps, Walter Taylor, Ronnie Reese, Anita Burks, Alicia Edwards, Jennifer Johnson, Curtis Bynum, Karen Lewis, Patty Mitchell, Michael Brunson, Zeidre Foster, June Davis and Marsha Allen. Current African American staff has also been targeted by non-Black managers and employees and have routinely been victim of verbal assaults; wrongly accused; openly targeted for past or current CTU political affiliations; wrongfully accused of stealing or misappropriated funds, lying, being drunk on the job; being more compliant because of biracial parentage, unintelligent, untrustworthy, sneaky, being paid too much, not being 'as' educated, not liked, being unprofessional, acting anti-social, acting as a spy for UPC, acting theatrical, being a drama queen, being too ambitious, acting "ape-like," being crazy, and, being called or alluded to as a host of other racially charged, insulting things. These things have been said to other colleagues, co-workers, rank and file members and people outside of the CTU. Because walls are thin and some of them are false dividers, people can overhear conversation that is thought to be private in nature. Reported incidents and racist statements involving current African American CTU employees include, but are not limited to: • Older Black employees being told to retire early or be forced to work-part time

• Black employee accused of stealing money from concessions sales with no evidence of such theft

• Black employees accused of poor job performance, though they've never been written up, reprimanded or given a remediation plan or tools

• African American employees who have served more than 20 years have been accused of "making too much money" and have been targeted for demotion, firing or early retirement schemes • White employee routinely complains to a white officer about Black employees and was successful in having two fired and/or laid off, days later, though there was no due process • African American employees who are ill, are targeted for termination

• Black male employee hired because someone thought he was "gay" and would fit in with another gay Black male employee • Black males supervised by a white female with political power in their caucus accuses the black males of being unproductive, lazy and not living up to her standards, but says nothing to white and Latino staff.

• Black female employee sent to Bridgeport, a historically white neighborhood known for lynching African Americans, to represent the CTU and is attacked by rank and file and then accused of "not doing your job" when she complained

• White and Latino employees allowed to received overt-time, perks and other financial benefits denied to Black colleagues in the exact same circumstances

• Black employee being told, "I never liked you and was forced to hire you anyway' and then being tracked, targeted and set up by department manager in order to expedite termination or a resignation • Black employees targeted for being written up for coming in late, yet white employees who walk with the person accused of being late is not written up or accused of being late

• The political coordinator heard being called "crazy" and acting "ape-ish" by a non-Black employee who was talking on the other side of a door. Has also been targeted for removal by mostly white, male political leaders of her caucus. Has also had several public, in office incidents where she screamed about racism, being disrespected and being targeted by non-Blacks for termination

• CTU President Karen Lewis accused of "selling out" members with SB7 and this lie circulated openly through the office of the union and no one worked to stop this attack on her character.

• The media coordinator being forced out due to a hostile work environment, only to return and receive a picture of a watermelon with a Negro on top with large, red lips. Media person heard being called "insane," and "that's why she quit CTU" and that she "had to come back because she knew Pat Quinn was going to lose."

• Blacks who attempt to report racist and hostile incidents are mocked, and targeted for removal or isolation by the dominant staff, which is mostly white and Latino

• Black staff members hounded to pursue elected officer positions during CTU elections in order to target the two current officers because one is "more compliant" and can be "controlled because of their youth" and because this person is said to be "biracial."

• Blacks who complain about unfair treatment, are threatened with removal, and warned not to sue the CTU for discrimination like other past Black employees have done

• African Americans being painted as "hostile," and "anti-CTU" if they express any concern about process and workplace issues. These people have been "counseled" into accepting the conditions as "normal" among "large groups."

• The assistant to the president being accused of working for the UPC and should be fired for no reason by all non-white CTU staff with controlling ties to an opposing political caucus

• Blacks forced to open up "emotionally" during staff retreats and meetings where they are encouraged to share personal details about their lives that have no bearing on their work. After doing so, white CTU employees, with strong political ties to the ruling Caucus, use that information to justify various behaviors.

• African American staff member assigned to a CTU Committee is accused of not knowing how to "do his job" and is targeted for removal by committee members with strong ties the dominant political caucus

• African Americans removed from key assignments and replaced by Hispanics.

• Black employees targeted to public humiliation by the presiding CTU caucus (CORE)

• Management sharing personnel details with colleagues and subordinates about Black employees whom they intend to fire or lay-off • Blacks unwilling to join the CORE group are then called "sneaky" and "suspicious" and then hounded until they take members inside of CORE so "they can be trusted." Those who refuse continue to be dogged with hostile relations.

• White males accusing CTU of reverse discrimination because "too many departments are headed by Afro-American women,"

• Black faith traditions and religious values openly mocked by CTU Management, which is predominantly atheist; CTU leaders making fun of "Jesus" and other Christian and Muslim beliefs; new Black staff member questioned about religious beliefs to the point feeling uncomfortable; Black staff member, a known pastor, told to remove scriptures from their private workspace because it is offensive

• Upon development of Black Caucus, staff organizers told that it cannot be "all African American," yet there is a "Latino Caucus" and other intra-group committees within the CTU

• And, this is just a partial list of discriminatory practices, incidents and comments, we have been made aware.


Even, the two current African-American officers are not exempt from the racist, hostile and unhealthy work environment within the Chicago Teachers Union. This environment fosters distrust among all employees, hurt feelings, unhealthy professional relationships and seeks to divide colleagues:

• CTU President Karen Lewis who is fighting brain cancer, was targeted for removal as an officer because of her health. Rumors in the office that she is now "unfit," "acting retarded," and "unable to serve," abounds. Karen is frequently referred to out of her name and is insulted by non-Black, mostly white staff who also have controlling power in her political caucus.

• Recording Secretary Michael Brunson has been publicly humiliated, disrespected, insulted, maligned and targeted for removal by mostly white CTU staff that have controlling power in his political caucus.

• As of this writing in 2015, CTU sources and private emails have claimed discussions were openly held by white members of Lewis' and Brunson's political caucus to have them both removed from power---and to be replaced by a "more acceptable" Black person and a "Latino" because "the CTU has a bunch of Latinos and we need one as an officer now." CULTURE HITS RANK AND FILE And if this is not enough, we have talked to more than our share of African American rank-and-file members who have openly expressed the racism and racial hostility they have felt from non-Black CTU directors.

• Paraprofessionals have openly complained that a non-Black officer is "racist" and "has a problem with Blacks," and "hates Black people." They called for her removal several times and were rebuffed. The paraprofessionals have also been very vocal that the current CTU leadership treats them with contempt and open disregard.

• Black teachers have publicly complained that CTU's focus has not provided job security for them yet fights for $15 wage for others. • Black clinicians have expressed they "don't have time" for CTU events because "it's a waste of time because they are focusing on white folks right now."

CULTURE HITS COMMUNITY The prejudice notions have not escaped African Americans activists, groups and clergy who have been working closely with the CTU on education issues since 2010:

• Black organizations often denied funding for buses and other needs, despite money is freely distributed to white and Latino groups. African American activist told a CTU staff member that he has to "keep proving himself" but that "they call me every time they need a Black face."

• African American clergy affiliate controlled by a Black-staff member is undermined by a white-controlled faith group supported by white CTU staffers, creating unnecessary tensions in the workplace and rivalries among faith organizations

• African American parents not included on many CTU strategy sessions in the same manner white and Latino parents are included, whether they are part of groups of individuals

• Non-affiliated CTU white or Latino activists are given plumb, paid organizing positions and opportunities, but African Americans recommended for same positions are denied or ignored by CTU staff without answer or explanation • Hostility toward Black leaders/groups with traditional and historic ties to organized labor; motives questioned openly; and Black employees solicited to tell 'negative' information about those individuals to justify CTU decisions to distance themselves from said Black leaders and/or groups. CTU NOW ON NOTICE According to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e and following) federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin (including membership in a Native American tribe). Further the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634), prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants who are at least 40 years old based on age. As current and former employees we reserve the human and civil right to pursue class action status and damages against the Chicago Teachers Union for these blatant violations. While some current employees have legal recourse via the National Labor Relations Board, other African American CTU employees are exempt from such protections because they are either probationary, management or have a weakened bargaining position.

Yet, that does not give the CTU the right to discriminate against these people. It does not give the CTU the right to create a hostile work environment. It does not give the CTU right to target older African American workers and push them into early retirement because they "make too much money," and the CTU is trying to balance its broken budgets. It does not give the CTU the right to pretend to address these issues by bringing in a mostly white and Latino organizational advisor who never resolves any issues and tries to counsel Black employees from expressing that there is institutional racism and a hostile anti-Black culture within the CTU.

African American CTU Employees United is a private, independent group of individuals who have been tracking and documenting these discriminatory acts since 2010. It does not include all current Black CTU employees. Any retaliation against a CTU employee suspected of being a member or against one who is simply using their labor and 1st amendment rights to discuss workplace concerns will be met with swift punishment and an embarrassing federal and local lawsuit.


It would also be a mistake for anyone to assume that this is written for political reasons because we are recognizing CORE's intricate role and ongoing, participation in creating this hostile, anti-Black workplace. This is a painful document to write and distribute. No Caucus is perfect or has been exempt of issues involving, racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia. But many of us have never seen it this bad. This administration is rift with secrecy, hostility, deceitfulness, back-biting, lying, cowardice, immaturity and manipulation. Normally, these characteristics would be hurled at the Board. It pains us to have to use this with our own, beloved Union.

Therefore, if any other African American employee at the CTU faces wrongful termination, disappears without explanation, abruptly resigns, takes a leave of absence because they are ill or engaging in their own "personal strike," former employees and others are preparing a public response to expose the CTU and what you all are doing to them. This is wrong. This is unethical. This is illegal. Please stop this now. You are destroying our union.

We are aware that THREE current African Americans employees---whom are well-respected, supported, and known as outstanding professionals--- are currently in the cue to be fired and/or laid off. This is well known throughout the office of the CTU. Upon an examination of the evidence as presented, again, we judge you racist, discriminatory and wrong. We will fully support them should they decide to pursue legal action against our union---and we hope they will then join in a federal class action lawsuit to stop this administration engaging in these federally prohibited acts. We are fully prepared to expose you --- now. -------------------------------------------------------

(Document was forwarded to Substance News on 10/24/2015. Subsequently it was discovered that the document was placed in all employee mailboxes at the CTU Merchandise Mart offices on 10/24/2015. Original document is 7 pages in length)

The Shop Steward at the time also sent this to CTU mangers and demanded an immediate investigation to which there was never a response nor an investigation of any of the allegations in this letter. Jackson Potter coverup this racism and never addressed the harm that each indivdual suffred. Jackson Potter prepetuated racism inside of teh Chiucago teachers union by using fear, patoprnage and threats to keep employees form speaking out about their treament.

Adrey May long time execuitive secretary for the Chicago Teachers Union on her last day at the CTU told me John make sure to do something, "these people are racist."





Subject: NOTICE - CTU Racism Allegations 10232015

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2015 04:28:36 +0000

To the CTU Leadership,

I am in receipt of a letter outlining allegations of years of racism towards African-American employees and Officers at the CTU.

As the shop steward, I am forwarding this to the attention of the leadership of the CTU to investigate immediately due to the fact that names mentioned in the letter are part of the PSE bargaining Unit. Additionally, the PSEU filed at least two grievances that had concerns of racism and discrimnation that were never resolved; one is now going to arbitration.

Any and all questioning of PSEU members will be done with Union representation.

Any retaliation towards any member in the Unit or myself for reporting this letter or any other allegations of racism will be reported immediately to the proper agencies.

Dr. John Kugler

City-Wide Field Representative

Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

CTU PSE Teamsters Shop Steward, Local 743

312-329-6203 Fax


Karl Hubert

Wed 6/17/2020 10:32 PM

Dear Colleagues for Justice in the Education Arena in Chicago, please note that I tried to communicate to you guys many (metaphorical) moons ago that, "Black Teachers' and Teachers of Color Lives' Matter." (So many teachers of color were allegedly displaced and allegedly, their lives destroyed during the metaphorical and alleged "educational purging of Black Teachers' Pandemic" at the Chicago Public Schools, when I worked there, as a Union Representative and Safety and Security Coordinator for 30,000 teachers, trying my best to metaphorically soldier for teachers in crisis.

Who else other than Black Teachers and Teachers of Color are ordained to let the young children of color know, who they are, and their value as citizens, and how great they are, and what they can achieve, and who they can become, as a result of their efforts?

Someone should ask about alleged racism and alleged systemic racism allegedly engaged in by both the CPS system and CTU's Leadership, vis a vis--alleged Jesse Sharkey, President of CTU--that same question?

Sincerely and much appropriate love to all who desire to serve our children; and not themselves.

I turn 70 years of age this month, have nothing to lose, and I choose to continue to speak truth to power, as I have my entire life; and since I have more years behind me than in front of me, then I submit as follows:

"It is written in scripture, that "Generations come and Generations go--and only the earth sustains itself forever!"

Our children are indeed "our next generation;"

And I further submit that our children's lives, as all lives, must and do indeed matter. Karl

The Chicago Teachers Union fired Antoinette Barnes during a difficult time in her life. She had a few deaths in her family, and then she got cancer. Instead of having some humanity, the CTU leadership terminated her, and to add insult to injury; they prolonged her arbitration process with six different hearings, unheard of in labor arbitrations. The extended process and the constant fighting for her dignity, while she was in the middle of cancer led to her death. Rest in Peace, my sister.

An Injury to One is An Injury to All

John Kugler


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