UNION NEWS: Instead of stalling the discussion and debate on the CTU budget (and ignoring the CTU Foundation budget completely) the union's officers should have called a special meeting so that delegates could get clear answers on the budget before voting...

When it became clear to the union's school delegates that the agenda for the June meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates had been designed to stall discussion and debate on the actual CTU budget until as late as possible on June 7, 2017, one possible option to ensure union democracy was to hold a special meeting of the House of Delegates. Special meetings have been scheduled and held within the past two years on items the leadership wanted, so the idea was nothing new. And unlike the past, the expenses for delegate meetings are less in 2017 now that the union (through the "CTU Foundation") owns the space where the meetings take place.

But CTU President Karen Lewis and Vice President Jesse Sharkey acted as if the union would be forced to cease operations if the union's delegates did not vote on a proposed budget on June 7, 2017, despite the fact that there are (as of this writing) 22 days left before the current CTU budget expires and a new one is necessary.

One rumor on June 8, 2017, is that a group of delegates will be circulating a petition among the union members and delegates demanding that the leadership honor the quorum call which ended the meeting on June 7 before the budget vote and schedule a meeting devoted exclusively to the budget discussion (questions from delegates and schools) and debate on the budget which will take the union from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

As of this writing, the union's teacher members pay nearly $1,100 per year in union dues, and a growing number of members and delegates are demanding to know how their dues money is being spent. The answers, as the report on the June 7, 2017 delegates meeting make clear, are not forthcoming. And any member who tries to unscramble to finances of the Chicago Teachers Union by exploring the union's website ( leaves perplexed. Despite the claim by the current leadership caucus (CORE, of which this reporter is a member) that the CTU should be "transparent," as both the June 7 meeting and the CTU website make clear, transparency about union (and "Foundation") finances is not a concern of the officers of the CTU (who are also paid officers of the "CTU Foundation" by the way).

As I was one of the founding members of CORE, I have been particularly disappointed as the current leadership of the union (and the CORE caucus) have refused to provide even the most basic information to those who are paying $1,100 per year in union dues. CORE continues to try and dominate union debates, but more and more CORE members have become openly opposed to the route taken by the current officers and, from time to time, the union's Executive Board.


June 8, 2017 at 8:44 PM

By: Jo-Anne Cairo


At today's CTU Retiree meeting it was stated that no delegate filled out and application to be on the Finance Committee, so that's why there wasn't one.

June 10, 2017 at 11:12 PM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

CTU budget rushed through

Am I correct in thinking that if a budget isn't passed, the organization just carries on with the old budget as much as possible. Nothing stops; people and bills get paid, etc. When Debbie Lynch's administration tried to pass a budget which BTW gave the CTU officers and staff pay cuts, the previous administration loyalists who were delegates on the floor stopped that budget from being passed. The officers then went on to cut their pay anyway. Obviously, they were able to make cuts whether the budget was passed or not.

June 11, 2017 at 5:25 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Terry's right... CTU would NOT have shut down...

When there have been budget disputes in the past, the union continued operations into July, or even August. The claim that the union would have shut down was nonsense for two reasons. First, as Terry points out, the union has continued operations under an extension of the "old" budget. Second, and as important this year for sure, the union now operates under two budgets: the CTU budget, and the CTU Foundation budget. To claim that the union is "broke" when the Foundation is giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and is headed by the same officers as head the union itself is nonsense. The dishonesty that has been pushed out on the remaining members of the once-mighty Chicago Teachers Union includes the notion that most of the current budget of the union itself is "none of your business" and that ALL of the budget of the "CTU Foundation" is very much "NONE of your business." As is being said elsewhere when decent people and democracy face liars: the cover up is a lot of the story here.

June 18, 2017 at 7:50 AM

By: Jean Schwab


I think another meeting needs to be called. Every delegate needs an advance copy of the proposed budget and time should be given for questions and concerns. Also the discussion should be polite because people have a right to disagree but respectfully. We are all good people just with different opinions.

June 18, 2017 at 6:38 PM

By: Ed Hershey


I would say that most of the discussion on the budget was polite. The Members First caucus -- I think three people in that group posed questions on the budget -- were all polite. To my mind they were not clear enough about making a point.

There was perhaps some tension around there being a large number of questions around CTUF spending and the organizer position.

Things only became heated when there was the inquiry on the Quorum call, and then when the delegate contested the vote.

June 21, 2017 at 2:52 PM

By: Rachel Fowler


His above comment is irrelevant to the budget article and comments. Who is checking comments before they're posted? At least we aren't getting the Russian comments any more.

June 22, 2017 at 8:02 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Bots attacked massively last night...

No one pre-checks Substance comments. What happens, from time to time, is that our comments section (in BACK ISSUES, usually) is spammed by "bots." These are world-wandering infections such as the one you noticed. We try to visit and edit at least twice a day, but yesterday we missed the afternoon (baseball, etc). As a result, I just had to manually delete a swarm of bots (a total of 19) as my first job this morning. We have decided not to pre-select comments, but to demand that every person issuing a comment use a full real name and provide us (and therefore our readers) with their full real name. Our editors also get their email address and utilize that to check when things are strange. But BrendanGom was a bot, and now he she it is gone... Tomorrow is another day and I'll be here deleting if necessary along the way...

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