Chicago Teachers Union makes it official, announces it will be getting a new home in the heart of the city's West Side

By 2016, the Chicago Teachers Union's offices will be located at 1901 W. Carroll St. (above) in the city's West Side. CTU photo.The location of the offices of the largest public worker unions in downtown Chicago has always been a kind of mystery to the unions' members, and the greatest mystery of all was how the Chicago Teachers Union wound up with a full city-block long suite of offices inside the massive Merchandise Mart. The location of the most militant union in America's third largest city became immensely clear on the night of September 9, 2012, when the union's officers walked out of the Mart a few hours before midnight to announce that they would be leading the first Chicago teachers strike in a quarter century.

One irony? The reporters (including this reporter) who covered that dramatic press conference were standing underneath statues honoring some of the most plunderous plutocrats in Chicago (and American history) -- the "merchants" in whose names the Mart was named.

By in early May 2014, the leaders of the union worked out the final details that will, by 2016, lead to the union's having larger space in a more Chicago-friendly location: a building at 1901 W. Carroll St. on the city's West Side. And on May 23, 2014, the union officially announced the plan on the union's website, so it is no longer secret:

"A place of our own! The CTU House of Delegates will take an advisory vote June 4 on relocation from our Merchandise Mart office to a permanent, state-of-the-art CTU-owned headquarters in Chicago's burgeoning West Loop in early 2016. The proposed site at 1901 W. Carroll Ave. is near the intersection of Lake Street and Damen Avenue. This three-story facility will provide�in addition to the main office�an auditorium; assembly space for delegates; professional development classrooms; computer labs; education labor library and CTU archives; member meeting spaces; 150 designated parking spaces and the ability to expand. More importantly, the relocation will be of no additional cost to members. The annual cost per member will instead be reduced by 58 percent.

"Centrally located for both CTU staff and our constituents, the 1901 W. Carroll Ave. property offers 70,000 square feet of space�nearly double our current usage in the Merchandise Mart� and a sizable reduction in occupancy costs. Presentations last week before CTU delegates and the Executive Board were overwhelmingly well-received.

"More details to come. For additional information, please contact Director of Union Operations Michael Harrington at"