How to do a democratic union election... Chicago Teachers Union election seasons begins with nominations in February and March and ends with the election on May 17 in all the schools

The 2013 Chicago Teachers Union election will be held on May 17, 2013, with most CTU members voting in their schools. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote in the May balloting (which has always taken place on the third Friday of May), there is a runoff election between the two top candidates (or slates). The complex election rules and deadlines for various parts of he election have resulted from more than 75 years of union experience, and what most observers would agree is one of the most democratic procedures of any union in the USA.

The election season begins with the review and approval of the election rules, which are proposed by the Financial Secretary to the House of Delegates meeting after the rules are reviewed by the union's Rules-Elections committee. (Disclosure: this reporter is a member of the Rules-Elections Committee). This year the rules were presented to the January 9 meeting of the House and approved.

The rules involve the complex eligibility requirements for each of the union offices, as well as eligibility for the election of 150 delegates to national and state union conventions (the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers).

The runoff is held in June. Twice since the 21st Century century began, the CTU has had runoffs.

In 2004, Marilyn Stewart and the United Progressive Caucus (UPC) defeated incumbent Deborah Lynch and the Pro-Active Chicago Teachers and School Workers (PACT) caucus in a runoff that was so close that Lynch's group charged fraud and did not yield office until ordered to by a court. The runoff had been forced on the union when the election in May presented the members with a four-way choice. The two other caucus were called the "Independent Caucus" and something else.

In 2007, Lynch and her PACT caucus challenged the UPC and lost.

in 2010, CORE slated for the first time and came in second to the UPC in the May election, which saw a five-way race. In addition to the UPC (headed by Marilyn Stewart) and CORE (headed by Karen Lewis), PACT was again in the race (with their slate headed by Deborah Lynch). The other two caucuses in the May voting were the SEA caucus (headed by Ted Hajiharis) and the CSDU caucus (headed by union treasurer Linda Porter). After the voting in May forced the June runoff, the three candidates who had been out of the running supported Karen Lewis and CORE.

CORE won the June runoff election with more than 65 percent of the total vote.


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