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Company Union here we come ... CTU stand up to the south bend bully

the core leadership of the Chicago Teachers rules by fear and domination. anyone that questions any action is quickly attacked as a racist, misogynist, anti-gay, or whatever other excuses there are to marginalize opposition voices within the union.

one prime example is stacy davis gates treating and making remarks about frank mcdonald during official meetings trying to paint him as a privileged white man ... lest she forgets he speaks fluent spanish in his interracial marriage.

in a recent article in WBEZ they had more information on political spending that has been disclosed and most likely never approved by the House of Delegates ... yet the malfeasance continues ...

The CTU spent nearly $2.6 million over the last three years on political activity and lobbying at the city, county and state level, according to a filing unions must submit to the U.S. Department of Labor. (2022, August 31, Can the Chicago Teachers Union take the mayor's office? )

Is anyone challenging this CTU spending and rhetoric to run a staffer to be Mayor of the city of Chicago? or is everyone afraid to stand up to bullies anymore? Does anyone think it is a conflict of interests for our union to want to be our boss? what do you think will happen to people that question leadership when they are both the union and the boss ... the definition of a company union ...

The CTU spent nearly $2.6 million over the last three years on political activity and lobbying at the city, county and state level, according to a filing unions must submit to the U.S. Department of Labor. (2022, August 31, Can the Chicago Teachers Union take the mayor's office? )

That money could have been used for member services and build enrollment to save jobs ...

Seems like tik tok, facebook and twitter all in one ... while people get hurt most just watch and videotape believing they will not be next ...

... not to mention narrative building by a publicly funded news organization WBEZ ... check who else is promoting this storyline ... shouldn't they be neutral on politics due to their funding restriction this story below is not a story it's a plug ... seems like that Chicago Magazine story right before the union elections earlier this year

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Can the Chicago Teachers Union take the mayor’s office? As a CTU staffer mulls a mayoral run, and hopefuls vie for the union’s nod, questions swirl about the CTU’s ability to unseat Lori Lightfoot

By Sarah Karp, Mariah Woelfel

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 6 a.m. CT

www.wbez.org

When Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates spoke to civic leaders and community organizers in downtown Chicago last week, she made two things clear: She is not running for mayor, but her union will take on the incumbent in the 2023 city election.

“You all know you need a new mayor,” Davis Gates told the crowd during her speech on Aug. 22.

Davis Gates put to rest months of speculation that she might run for mayor against Lori Lightfoot. But she simultaneously fueled the idea that another union staffer will run in her place: Brandon Johnson, who joined her at a press conference after the speech.

Johnson, a CTU organizer and Cook County commissioner, told WBEZ on Monday that he hasn’t made a final decision about running, but that petitions are being circulated on his behalf.

“It is humbling that there are a number of people who are asking me to do this,” said Johnson, who worked as a Chicago public school teacher and lives on Chicago’s West Side. “It’s a matter of recognizing a moment and being incredibly humbled by it.”

Whether Johnson has the funding or name recognition to galvanize voters is unclear. But the prospect of a CTU-backed candidate raises a tantalizing political question: Does the city’s most powerful union have enough clout and power to install one of its own in City Hall?

Some dismiss the suggestion. The union came up short in 2019 when it backed Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle against Lori Lightfoot, who won in a landslide. Still, candidates are lining up for the CTU’s endorsement, and the union has proven in other political battles that its money, army of members and influence carries substantial weight.

“You have to go to war with Lightfoot”

The Chicago Teachers Union was arguably at its peak politically during the 2019 teachers strike and under former president Karen Lewis, who was eyeing a mayoral bid when she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015. Lewis was forced to step down and died last year.

The pandemic has left the union somewhat battered, after it faced competing factions that disagreed about how to safely bring staff and students back to school.

Former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan didn’t see the CTU as a threat when he considered jumping into the mayor’s race earlier this year, said Peter Cunningham, Duncan’s longtime confidant.

“They made Chuy competitive,” he said, referring to U.S. Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García, who ran for mayor in 2015 against Rahm Emanuel after being recruited by the CTU. “They did not seem to help Toni at all. They have a terrible track record.”

Cunningham is placing his bets on Lightfoot. As an incumbent, Lightfoot had more than $2.5 million on hand at the end of June — the most of any candidate aside from businessman Willie Wilson, who is largely bankrolling his own campaign with $5 million. Also, many think turnout will be low during the February voting, which usually benefits the incumbent.

However, Cunningham said if anyone is going to beat her, it is going to be someone who is willing to go after Lightfoot in the public arena.

“You have to go to war with Lightfoot,” he said.

The CTU and Davis Gates have been willing to do that.

The CTU spent nearly $2.6 million over the last three years on political activity and lobbying at the city, county and state level, according to a filing unions must submit to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Some of the money is spent directly on candidates through its two political action committees. In 2015, the CTU PACs contributed $339,832 to their candidate, Garcia, and, in 2019, $355,047 to Toni Preckwinkle — either through direct contributions or payments to vendors for campaign services.

A CTU endorsement could mean hundreds of thousands from the union’s PAC alone.

The value of the CTU’s endorsement

But perhaps more importantly, the CTU’s endorsement signals that a candidate represents the values of the progressive left. An endorsement offers considerable sway with other unions and community organizations, many of which are supported by the CTU Foundation.

For instance, the American Federation of Teachers in 2015, following the lead of CTU, shelled out more than $1 million to Garcia. The AFT is CTU’s parent organization.

Eric Bailey, communications director from SEIU-73, said the union won’t start the mayoral endorsement process until after the November election. Like most unions, a political education committee made up of members will review surveys and interview candidates.

Bailey said the CTU’s endorsement means a lot to members of his union. “It is going to carry weight with folks, absolutely,” he said.

He points out that many SEIU members work in schools alongside teachers as aides for special education students or at park district facilities as recreation leaders. Also, Bailey said they are mostly Black and Latino women and many of them see the CTU as an organization that stands up for them.

Once elected, Lightfoot worked to build relationships with unions that supported her opponent in the race, including SEIU. A major accomplishment on that front was the passage of an ordinance that requires employees to give workers advance notice of schedule changes, and compensate them for changes in some instances.

At the same time, Bailey said some of his members take umbrage with Lightfoot’s handling of the pandemic and are grateful to the CTU for demanding greater protections.

“Many of them felt disrespected by the agencies they worked for, like the school district and the park district,” he said. “I think that there was enough culpability to go around for everybody to say, ‘Listen, when you’re trying to solve a problem, you need all the stakeholders at the table, and that includes our members who are on the ground.’ ”

What’s more, many on the left see the CTU as successful, even perceiving Garcia’s 2015 mayoral loss as a win. Garcia, who was a county commissioner at the time, gained even wider name recognition after forcing a runoff against then-incumbent Emanuel.

Robert Bruno, labor education professor at the University of Illinois Champaign, also points out the CTU has successfully helped get several of their members elected aldermen and to the Illinois General Assembly.

This is rare for unions, he said. Bruno said the CTU does not just endorse candidates, but its leaders “aspire to be kingmakers… They are not interested in deferring to any political party, they are clear about that.”

However, Bruno said the union’s candidate would have to find an issue beyond education to galvanize voters, something Johnson and Davis Gates are already doing

But the CTU’s potential success will turn heavily on the candidate they choose, said Rebecca Williams, a progressive political strategist in Chicago. The 2019 mayoral race featured a debate between Preckwinkle and Lightfoot over who represented a “true progressive” in a fight for left-leaning voters, Williams said. She thinks a successful 2023 candidate will need to appeal to a broader spectrum of ideologies.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ran with the CTU’s backing for mayor against Lori Lightfoot in 2019 but lost. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

“Because we already know Lori much better now, we’re not speculating about who she is,” Williams said. “And the progressives, the younger, Bernie progressives, have been pretty consistent in being like, ‘She hasn’t gone as far as we’ve wanted.’”

Williams doesn’t think Lightfoot can get those progressive voters, nor will she go for them. “I think the challenge isn’t just simply locking in the progressive base. It’s actually all the other folks across the other ideological spectrum.”

Johnson has made a name for himself among progressive circles — supporting county legislation, for instance, to reallocate funding from the police. But it’s unclear whether he, or another CTU candidate, will be able to appeal to other swaths of voters disenchanted with Lightfoot or who are otherwise up for grabs.

The race for the CTU nod

Still, the progressive vote matters in Chicago. And there is a battle among the city’s progressive candidates for the union’s endorsement — it’s a seal of approval many are determined to nail down.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer, who announced his run in June, said he’s been on the frontlines of numerous fights for CTU.

“I’ve caught pneumonia twice on CTU-related issues [after] being out in the street advocating,” Sawyer said. “I at least deserve a hearing and a shot to talk to the members about what I feel is the future of our Chicago and how I can help.”

A spokesperson for Ald. Sophia King, who represents the South Side’s 4th Ward and is chair of the council’s progressive caucus, said in a statement she has “spent years in the classroom” teaching chemistry at Chicago’s Latin School and said she helped found a public school on the South Side. She said she “looks forward to earning the votes of teachers and parents.”

Candidate Ja’Mal Green, a progressive activist known for taking on Chase Bank for its dismal lending rates in South and West side communities, said he believes it’s a foregone conclusion the union will support Johnson. Still, he said, “I think that their members, hopefully, will look at our candidacy as one that is actually energizing voters.”

State Rep. Kam Buckner, who was rumored to be the union’s potential pick early in the race, highlighted his work pushing for Chicago’s new elected school board.

Among the candidates already in the race, Sawyer has gotten the most money from the union historically, raking in more than $31,000 over the years. The union has also given around $1,000 to $1,500 each to King, Buckner and Ald. Raymond Lopez, one of the council’s most conservative members.

But all of that is dwarfed by the $143,798 the union has given to Johnson, mostly to support his 2018 run for Cook County commissioner. The union’s most recent contribution was $10,000 in March.

Several members of the Chicago City council are trying to unseat Lori Lightfoot and earn the CTU’s backing. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

A changed CTU, and memories of pandemic disputes

Regardless of who the CTU endorses, there are questions about whether the union’s 28,000 members are unified enough to lift a candidate to the fifth floor.

Davis Gates’s caucus, CORE, only won 56% of the vote in a May election. It was the first major challenge that CORE had faced since first elected in 2010.

The Members First caucus, which came in second with most members winning about 27% of the vote, argued the CTU leadership under CORE was too political and too focused on taking down Lightfoot. And the CTU is already facing criticism from Members First for the apparent anointing of Johnson.

Froylan Jimenez, who ran on the Members First slate, wrote in the Chicago Sun-Timesthat members should be cautious about Johnson. He argued Johnson was “double dipping” as a CTU organizer and a Cook County commissioner, though most Cook County commissioners have additional jobs. Johnson was paid $83,526 in 2021 as legislative coordinator for the CTU, according to Department of Labor records. County commissioners currently make $85,000 a year.

Davis Gates and CORE were especially vulnerable coming out of the latest pandemic fight in January where CTU members refused to work in person as a safety agreement was hashed out. School was canceled for five days and teachers and staff never recouped pay.

Many CTU members felt that union leadership was disorganized and that they had lost pay without gaining much in exchange. Some parents who usually stood by the union seemed tired of the drama and wanted their children back in school.

It appears Lightfoot will attempt to seize on this divide on the campaign trail. In response to questions about the CTU and Johnson, a campaign spokesperson focused on Lightfoot’s stance during the pandemic.

“Through focused leadership, Mayor Lightfoot fought to keep schools open safely and made sure every Chicago kid had access to the high-quality education and services they need and deserve — especially amid the public health crisis,” the statement read.

The memory of this could work against CTU as it pushes a mayoral candidate. Political strategist Delmarie Cobb acknowledged the CTU is in a different era than it was under Lewis, but noted Davis Gates is still catching her bearings as president. The former CTU vice president was elected in May and sworn in earlier this month.

“I don’t think you can dismiss their importance,” Cobb said. “And I think the fact that Stacy has decided that she’s not going to run is significant. The fact that she understands that this is not about ego, and that it’s about policy, I think that’s major. Remember, Karen Lewis wasn’t always Karen Lewis. Karen Lewis became formidable. And I think Stacy has that same ability to do that.”

Sarah Karp covers education for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter @WBEZeducation and @sskedreporter Mariah Woelfel covers Chicago city government at WBEZ. You can follow her at @MariahWoelfel https://www.wbez.org/stories/can-the-chicago-teachers-union-take-the-mayors-office/891553cf-88c7-45eb-ba92-d858e27b2ee6

https://www.wbez.org/stories/can-the-chicago-teachers-union-take-the-mayors-office/891553cf-88c7-45eb-ba92-d858e27b2ee6



Comments:

September 4, 2022 at 6:34 AM

By: john s. whitfield

LONG HISTORY OF UNIONS

Unions have long history here in Galesburg and future, local leader says

Talbot Fisher

Special to The Register-Mail

Late afternoon sunlight beamed through the front windows of Cherry Street Brewing Company on Tuesday. Soft chimes of gaming machines could be heard along with the gentle, steady “whoosh” of chilled air flowing from air conditioning ducts. Neon lights reflected on clean brick walls.

Then Randy Bryan, heavy machine operator, organizer of the Labor Day parade, member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 649, and representative of the Galesburg Trades and Labor Assembly, walked in. He sat down and discussed

See UNIONS, Page 9A

Continued from Page 1A

with The Register-Mail the history, purpose and future of organized labor in Galesburg.

Labor celebrated in Galesburg for 130 years

For 130 years, labor has been celebrated in Galesburg, beginning with the July 4, 1892, organization of the Trades and Labor Assembly and that years’ Labor Day parade. With the exception of 1941-1945, when Galesburg and most other cities in the United States canceled their Labor Day parades, union men and women have marched the downtown streets to honor the working American.

Over the course of these 130 years, organized labor has seen its ups and downs. Unions grew first from local jobs such as cigar-making, to huge manufacturing such as Butler and Maytag, and then shifted to a focus on the skilled trades used in construction along with teachers and the healthcare industry.

It has been 18 years since Maytag closed the doors of its Galesburg plant, which manufactured refrigerators. A factory which at its peak employed nearly 5,000 men and women and whose grounds, now used to store wind turbine parts, can be interpreted as a headstone for “the good union jobs in Galesburg” as it was only the latest of over 20 years of loss in the city. Tombstones engraved with “Rowe,” “Outboard Marine,” “Butler,” and “State Research Hospital” also are found in this cemetery of memory.

Money from union pensions circulates locally

But from behind the grave, blood pumps from these graves in the forms of pensions. Retirees from these workplaces continue to live in Galesburg and they receive the checks that they were able to earn thanks to the efforts of generations of workers who fought for rights and wages.

Current union jobs, including railroad workers and teachers, continue to pump money into the local economy.

“I get my paycheck, and here is where I spend it,” noted Randy Bryan as he sipped ice tea.

“Even just getting a haircut,” that’s paid for with union wages.

He cites how for many people, whether it was in the past or today, “they may make enough to live and eat. But nothing more.”

“They can’t go out to eat. They can’t have someone build them a deck. They can’t go on vacation. It’s just staying alive and going to work. Then they’re in their 60s, tired of working, and there’s nothing there.

“It’s scary and there’s a bigger percentage of people that this is happening to,” Bryan said.

Bryan: Unions improved

wages and added insurance

“And it took years … getting paid well didn’t just happen. It took years and years of guys doing things.”

It is not just wages he says are better because of unions, but the availability of health insurance and having retirement funds.

Of his own union membership, Bryan feels fortunate. Not understanding in his early 20s the importance of paying for insurance or retirement, over the years it has hit him.

“I realized, there’s going to be a day where I don’t have to work. I don’t have to just stay in my apartment and eat noodles. I can actually DO stuff. It goes back to what we talked about before, how pensioners continue to spend money in the community. I will be able to pitch in … that’s what keeps everything going.”

Apprenticeships can lead to life-long skills

While recognizing that the American economy has changed, Bryan notes that not everyone wants or is best suited for college degrees and the careers those degrees lead to. This is where apprenticeship comes into play.

“There’s a couple of young kids from Knoxville that just got into what I do and they got their hours to be members,”

Randy Bryan

Bryan says.

“I want them to have what I have. And at the same time, you’re trying to teach them the correct way so that down the road, they will pass what they learned on as well, when they are in the position that I am.”

The advantages of learning a skilled, union trade goes beyond wages, according to Bryan.

“They are learning a skill that you can take somewhere. You don’t have to stay tied down. You can take your skill to almost anywhere.”

He has advice for those who are intimidated by the challenge of apprenticeship in the trades as well, as not all can always enter the program they want, when they want. Often, more apply than can be accepted.

“If you want it, keep at it. Try again next year. They will see that you want it.”

“All programs are different, but ours (International Union of Operating Engineers Local 649) is four years. You get accepted and for four weeks you teach what you can in the classroom. Then they go with contractors who are requesting apprentices. Many jobs require that they always have apprentices, to always have people learning. More classroom instruction comes, and each time they know and are able to do more.”

Because of this, Bryan sees a future for organized labor in Galesburg.

“I think that’s an advantage of the Labor Day parade, because people can watch and they see their friends and neighbors and just folks they see around the community and realize that this is a path that they can take too.”

“They may make enough to live and eat. But nothing more. They can’t go out to eat. They can’t have someone build them a deck. They can’t go on vacation. It’s just staying alive and going to work. Then they’re in their 60s, tired of working, and there’s nothing there. It’s scary and there’s a bigger percentage of people that this is happening to. I realized, there’s going to be a day where I don’t have to work. I don’t have to just stay in my apartment and eat noodles. I can actually DO stuff. It goes back to what we talked about before, how pensioners continue to spend money in the community. I will be able to pitch in … that’s what keeps everything going”

UNIONS

from page A1 to A9

More inside

Find additional stories about the USA’s changing hiring dynamics.

Teacher Teresa Powell points to a whiteboard during seventh grade English class in Galesburg on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Some school districts have started offering tuition reimbursement to help entice teachers to join their districts. STEVE DAVIS/FOR THE REGISTER-MAIL

Member of Teamsters Local 627 march in the 2018 Galesburg Labor Day Parade. REGISTER-MAIL FILE PHOTO

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