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Chicago teachers protest across Loop to demand school funding

by Jessica D'Onofrio and Sarah Schulte - ABC 7 Chicago  |  June 23, 2016

The Chicago Teachers Union dubbed the event "Fight Back Day" and targeted major corporations at sites including at the Thompson Center, Citadel and Willis Tower.

"They're demonstrations to call out and call attention to the amount of money that is being siphoned away from the public coffers which is going to benefit corporations and the politically connected in the city," said Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union.

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CTU attorney statement on member’s expulsion from the Union for crossing April 1 picket line

by ctu communications  |  June 22, 2016

CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union attorney Robert Bloch released the following statement today regarding the expulsion of Joseph Ocol from the Union:

“Mr. Ocol, like all members known to have crossed the picket line and worked on April 1, was sent a notice of charges and invited to attend a hearing to contest the charges. Had he attended the hearing, he could have explained the unique circumstances he faced on that day.

“Mr. Ocol refused to respond to the notice or attend the hearing, and because he did not contest the charges or provide an explanation, the charges against him were sustained and he was expelled.

“Expulsion from the Chicago Teachers Union does not result in the loss of any employment benefits or rights—only membership in the Union. It cannot affect his standing as a teacher. He cannot be fired because of it, and the district’s broadcasting the suggestion that he would lose his job leaves people with the impression that the Union can cause teachers to be fired for unfair reasons. This is not the case.”

Teachers union takes to streets in the Loop, then fills City Hall

by Sun-Times Staff  |  June 22, 2016

The threat of an angry summer storm didn’t dampen the mood of protesting members of the Chicago Teachers Union, who filled up much of the first floor of City Hall Wednesday morning.

They blasted the usual suspects — Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Bruce Rauner and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool — as the crowd of red-shirted demonstrators began their protest, before heading out into the rain to circle the building.

Teachers had rallied at several locations downtown earlier Wednesday before converging on City Hall and marching inside.

“Hey, Rahm, we’re no fools. You will not destroy our schools!” they yelled. After their lap around the building, they were headed just up the street for a rally at the Thompson Center.

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CTU responds to district’s alleged plan to file an unfair labor practice charge on behalf of handful of members who reported to work April 1

by ctu communications  |  June 22, 2016

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement after learning Chicago Public Schools seeks to file an unfair labor practice charge against the Union on behalf of a few educators who opted to work on a declared April 1 one-day strike—though thousands of their colleagues showed solidarity and upheld the action. The school district’s 4:45 a.m. press release is yet another indication of the Chicago Board of Education attempting to thwart growing news coverage of today’s Loop actions to bring attention to the pools of money that already exist in Chicago that can go toward schools, if only the mayor had a will.

“CPS must come out of the Twilight Zone and join the rest of Chicago in the reality that is in front of us. Teachers are fighting for equitable, progressive revenue solutions so our schools will stay open in the fall and our students will not see further cuts to their education. We find it ironic that Mr. Claypool is now obsessed with defending the ‘rights’ of our members, when CPS has laid off more than 4,000 veteran educators—most of whom are Black and Latino—has closed 54 public schools, cut special education, and has no fiscal strategy in place that will keep the doors open this summer, let alone in the months and years to come.

“April 1 was about long-term progressive revenue for our school district. Educators chose to strike to illustrate the lack of political will in city hall, the Illinois General Assembly and the governor's mansion to stand up for Chicago's 300,000-plus school children. The handful of educators who chose to report to work instead of standing with their courageous colleagues were aware of the consequences of their actions. Unlike CPS which tosses people to the wind, however, the CTU has a long-standing practice of allowing any member who wishes to be reinstated to full member benefits to do so. Until that time, any member suspended from Union membership remains covered under the collective bargaining agreement.

“CTU members have no confidence in Mr. Claypool’s leadership, and today will continue to call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his handpicked Board of Education, Governor Bruce Rauner and their unofficial billionaire education advisors to do what is just and right for CPS students, educators and our communities.” 

Stephanie Gadlin
CTU Spokeswoman

Chicago teachers to turn furlough day into ‘fight back’ day with June 22 Loop protests

by ctu communications  |  June 20, 2016

CHICAGO—As Chicago Public Schools continues to place all of its eggs into one Springfield basket, Chicago teachers and other school employees will take to the streets once again on June 22 to call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to develop the will to fund schools and to stop giving his wealthy campaign donors public funds that could otherwise go toward students.

The Chicago Teachers Union has called on its 27,000 members to turn an imposed furlough day into a “fight back” day by converging on City Hall and sites throughout downtown to illustrate the call for just and progressive revenue solutions for schools.

Starting as early as 8:30 a.m. the Union, parents, students and other education justice activists will head to five target sites to illustrate the hypocrisy coming from the fifth floor of City Hall and Emanuel’s handpicked school board. The demonstration will conclude with a rally and speak out at the Thompson Center to connect the dots between Governor Bruce Rauner’s notorious “turnaround agenda” and the mayor’s refusal to fully support public schools.

Below is a list of the simultaneous 8:30 a.m. actions:




Larry Levy


River Point Plaza

444 W. Lake St.


Northeast corner of Lake and Canal

Larry Levy has donated thousands to Governor Rauner’s campaigns and his restaurant company has been sued for minimum wage violations in Chicago. He is also helping fund the governor’s campaign to change Illinois voting maps that would weaken the Black and Latino vote. He received $30 million in TIF funds for an unwanted luxury building downtown—money that could have gone to public schools.

Ken Griffin


Citadel Center

131 Dearborn


Griffin is a “close friend” of the mayor. He said his greatest disappointment with Emanuel is that he only closed 50 schools in 2013—stating it should have been more than 100.


Even though the Citadel CEO is the wealthiest man in Illinois, state income tax rollbacks saved him an estimated $16 million in one year. Citadel is among the top hedge funds whose mega-profits are protected by Illinois, requiring no sales tax on high frequency trading. A LaSalle Street Tax (or Financial Transaction Tax) would raise billions of dollars in revenue for Illinois paid by those who can afford it, while slowing down their risky behavior.


Instead of Griffin or his company paying their fair share, Griffin recently spent $500 million of his massive fortune to purchase two paintings which are going on display at the Art Institute. The misguided billionaire is also helping fund Rauner’s campaign to change Illinois voting maps that would weaken Black and Latino vote.

David Vitale


United Airlines

Willis Tower

233 S. Wacker

While David Vitale was president of the Board of Ed, he was also paid hundreds of thousands per year to sit on the board of directors at United Airlines. CTU members and parents asked again and again for Vitale to join us in calling for TIF money to be returned to schools to avoid cuts and closings. Instead of advocating for the schools that he led, he closed them while profiting from a $30 million TIF deal and $10 million in city grants at United.


Vitale was also a chief architect of the toxic swap deals that cost CPS over $500 million in profits taken by big banks for predatory deals. Vitale refused to sue the banks or even ask if they would be willing to give up a dime—instead closing schools and laying off teachers to make the payments. Further, without an elected school board, Vitale was safe to put his banker friends, business reputation and personal financial interests ahead of the school district that he led.


This former Board of Education president is also helping fund Rauner’s campaign to change Illinois voting maps that would weaken Black and Latino vote.

Board of Education




42 W. Madison


Demonstrators will call for an Elected School Board and for CPS to end its relationships with banks and toxic swaps and fight for progressive revenue. Parents and educators may take a vote of “no confidence” in CEO Forrest Claypool who has no long-term fiscal strategy to strengthen CPS.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel


Chicago City Council

City Hall

121 LaSalle


The CTU will join with citizens calling for an Elected Civilian Police Board in addition to its Elected Representative School Board. Educators will call on the mayor and the City Council to adopt progressive revenue options to fund public schools and to take a moral stand for the city’s more than 300,000 public school students by fighting for revenue, ensuring safe and healthy school buildings, restoring special education cuts, and ending toxic deals and contracts that cripple working families.

Teacher Unions: ‘Bargaining for the Common Good’

by rachel m. cohen - the american prospect  |  June 16, 2016

This idea of “bargaining for the common good”—and working in partnership with local allies—is not a new idea for labor unions, but its potential has never been fully realized, and past efforts have not gone deep enough. One major obstacle has been that labor law tries to limit unions to bargaining just over issues of wages and benefits.

“Unions have been significantly hobbled by the legal regime, and a lack of imagination to challenge it,” says Stephen Lerner, a longtime labor organizer.

But now, partly because of the historic action the Chicago Teachers Union took in 2012, when its members went on strike not just for themselves, but also for increased public services for the broader community, more and more unions have started to reconsider their fundamental roles and responsibilities. By expanding their bargaining demands beyond wages and benefits, unions are recognizing that they can more fully support, and engage their community partners—and get those community groups to support them in return.

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50 years, one school: Meet Chicago Public Schools' longest-serving teacher

by gaynor hall - wgn news  |  June 15, 2016

These are tense times for Chicago Public Schools, with the threat of budget cuts, layoffs and strikes. But for thousands of CPS teachers, what goes on at City Hall or in Springfield doesn’t change the dedication to their students. And as WGN’s Gaynor Hall reports, Chicago’s longest-serving teacher is leading by example that every single day is a chance to change lives.

ILLUSTRATION: WGN story on James Fitzgerald

Chicago Teachers Union v. Board of Education Turnaround Case, Notice of Class Action Lawsuit

June 14, 2016

Chicago Teachers Union v. Board of Education Turnaround Case, Notice of Class Action Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that the Board engaged in a pattern and practice of racial discrimination against African American teachers and paraprofessionals who were members of the Chicago Teachers Union and were employed in any school or attendance center subjected to turnaround in 2012. The turnaround schools were Pablo Casals, Fuller, Herzl, Marquette, Piccolo, Stagg, Woodson and Wendell Smith, and Chicago Vocational and Tilden High Schools.

  1. Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint and CBOE’s Answers
  2. Court Orders
  3. CPS Filings
  4. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification
  5. CTU v. BOE TA Class Notice

Local teacher finds success after parent mentor program

by Jacob Wittich - Chicago sun-times  |  June 14, 2016

When Ebelia Mucino, a kindergarten teacher at Avondale-Logandale Elementary School, immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, she had no confidence. She moved to the U.S. illegally in search of a better life but struggled to learn and understand a new language.

Mucino said she barely spoke and felt like she did not know anything. She hesitated to get involved in her community because she didn’t think she was qualified.

Her attitude changed when she joined the Parent Mentors program through the Logan Square Neighborhood Association to volunteer at her children’s school.

“It empowered me, giving me the opportunity to find who I am, what I am and what I can do,” Mucino said. “I wouldn’t have known that I have this gift in me to be a teacher if I had not been in the classroom.”

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Teachers To Emanuel, Rauner: ‘Not One More Cent In Cuts’

by Bob Roberts - CBS Chicago  |  June 13, 2016

As Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on Governor Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers to provide more money for the Chicago Public Schools, teachers at a meeting on the South Side said the mayor has done little to help matters.

Chicago Teachers Union organizer Matthew Luskin told the more than 100 teachers who attended a summit at the National Teachers Academy at 55 W. Cermak Rd. the mayor has sat on his hands, and has chosen to make cuts at CPS, when efforts should have been made to increase revenue.

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Chicago Teachers Union