Members First January meeting tonight (January 16) at Connie's... CORE is now purging members and demanding loyalty oaths from CORE members while ignoring CORE leaders' violations of core CORE policies principles, and even by-laws...

The January 2018 meeting of "Members First," a group discussing politics and policies within the Chicago Teachers Union, will be held on. While widespread discussion is now being held among CTU members about the referendum(s) on the proposed changes in the union's Constitution and By-Laws, additional issues are arising faster than we can report them.

At the end of the Christmas holidays, Substance learned that CORE is purging CORE members -- and even refunding dues -- of those who have "joined" Members First. Despite the fact that CORE's own Constitution and By-Laws are explicit about CORE's values of democracy and transparency -- and the fact that "Members First" is not a caucus in the CTU -- CORE continues to function in more and more explicitly dictatorial ways. Purging (or attempting to purge) CORE members seems to be the new normal in the caucus that has run the Chicago Teachers Union since July 2010. Ostensibly, CORE purges are being done because individuals are now members of an "opposing caucus" (Members First) even though Members First is not a union caucus in any sense of the term but only a group of union members who have been gathering to discuss important union issues. (A caucus becomes a caucus when it slates candidates for union office; Members First has never done that).

Also at issue is how much credibility the union is losing in Springfield while union leaders slander incumbent legislators and other political leaders in favor of individuals favored by a faction within the CTU leadership. The latest flap is growing over the endorsement of the candidacy of Brandon Johnson, a former CTU organizer, for Cook County Commissioner against an incumbent. Despite the claim by some in the CTU leadership that the incumbent is "anti labor", a review of the record, insofar as County Commissioners have one that can be evaluated by labor unions, shows that the incumbent Johnson is opposing has a record that can hardly be characterized as "anti-Labor."

The problem with this has been growing since the CTU began supporting candidates against incumbents based on the flimsiest claims. Most legislators have long come to expect that endorsements for re-election are to be based on a complete voting record, and not one or two highlighted examples. This has been the tradition in the CTU for the half century that this reporter has been following endorsements, but it is being eroded, to the union's detriment, by the current leadership. Examples will follow in the weeks ahead, and the time for endorsements nears in local, county, state and federal elections.


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