Retirees may have federal legal recourse if the retiree election is not held in a legal manner...

As the debate over whether the Chicago Teachers Union election for retiree delegates should be held over, given the number of mistakes in the election currently being held by mail ballot, CTU members should note that the election comes under federal law. That means that any retiree member of the union would have standing to file a federal complaint (it's not a "lawsuit") in the event that serious problems have arisen in the election. One of those could be that the current voting is for 33 retiree delegates, while the union's Constitution and By-Laws say that there should only be 31 delegates this term representing retirees.

According to the union, retiree members (of which I am one) are entitled to one delegate for every dues paying retiree member. The number has been created based on the December CTU membership report from the Financial Secretary. As members and delegates know, the Financial Secretary reports every month on several things, including a breakdown of the union's members by all functional groups (the largest of which being elementary teachers and high school teachers). In the December 2017 report provided to the delegates, the union had a little less than 3,100 members. This means that the retirees should be electing 31 delegates.

But the voting materials sent out to all retiree members in mid-December said that the voters should vote for no more than 33. There was no explanation as to how that number was arrived at, nor has the union's Rules - Elections Committee reported to the House of Delegates on this issue.

Federal law governs retiree matters, since retirees are also part of the group that elected AFT and IFT delegates (the next election for that is to be held in May 2019).

Those who wish to know more about how federal labor law applies to possible challenges to CTU (or other) union elections can go to the website of the U.S. Department of Labor:


Office of Labor-Management Standards

U.S. Department of Labor

2010 (Revised May 2014)

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Call the DOL National Call Center at 1.866.487.2365