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Chicago Teachers Union
Constitution and By-Laws

(Amended January 2018)
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Constitution

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Preamble

We, teachers, and other educational personnel in the Chicago Public Schools, being members of the Chicago Teachers Union, do hereby declare this Union to have the following purposes:

  1. to protect and improve the services of the public schools as a social agency for developing the capacities of the young and promoting adult education;
  2. to promote and guarantee efficient and faithful service from us to the public and to insure to us in return for that service a fair reward and a just security;
  3. in accordance with the Agreement between the Board of Education of the City of Chicago and Chicago Teachers Union, to assert, secure, and protect the inherent and fundamental equity in our jobs;
  4. as the sole collective bargaining agent for members of the bargaining unit, to establish and maintain orderly and practicable democratic processes in the management of the Chicago public schools, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement;
  5. to maintain a relationship of mutual assistance and cooperation with organized labor;
  6. to unify the educators of traditional public schools and public charter schools in the City of Chicago, together with other Chicago-area educators that may join with this Union;
  7. to promote racial, economic and social justice in order to achieve educational justice and build community and labor coalitions to achieve that objective.

So that orderly and fair procedures for seeking those ends may be established, we, the members of Chicago Teachers Union, do establish this Constitution and these By-Laws and do pledge ourselves to carry out the provisions thereof.

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ARTICLE I NAME AND AFFILIATION

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Sec. 1: The name of this organization shall be Chicago Teachers Union, chartered as Local 1, by the American Federation of Teachers which is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations. Chicago Teachers Union shall be directly affiliated with the Chicago Federation of Labor-Industrial Union Council, the Illinois State Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

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Sec. 2: Members selected as delegates in accordance with the By-Laws, shall represent this Union and shall attend meetings of the organizations with which the Union is affiliated.

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ARTICLE II MEMBERSHIP

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Sec. 1: Eligibility for Regular Membership

The following persons shall be eligible for regular membership:

  1. All persons (except superintendents, principals, directors of departments and bureaus holding principals’ certificates, and other categories specifically prohibited from membership by statute) who are licensed by the Illinois State Board of Education for teaching in the Chicago public schools;
  2. All counselors, clinicians, educational support staff and paraprofessionals employed in the Chicago Public Schools;
  3. All teachers, educational support staff and paraprofessionals employed at public charter schools;
  4. All teachers hired on an emeritus contract type of assignment;
  5. All teachers on sabbatical leaves;
  6. All teachers temporarily licensed by the Illinois State Board of Education;
  7. All persons belonging to other categories of educational personnel who have been voted into membership by the House of Delegates;
  8. All persons employed by the Chicago Teachers Union.

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Sec. 2: Eligibility for Retired Functional Group Membership

All persons eligible for membership as provided for in Sec. 1 of this article who have been retired or who have resigned from their positions in the Chicago public schools shall be eligible for Retired Functional Group Membership.

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Sec. 3: Eligibility for Inactive Associate Membership

  1. All members on maternity leave shall be eligible for Inactive Associate Membership for the length of their leaves.
  2. All members on leave for other employment (except for Union service) shall be eligible for Inactive Associate Membership for length of their leaves.
  3. All members on board approved military, paternity, travel, study or other leaves without salary shall be eligible for Inactive Associate Membership for the length of their leaves.

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Sec. 4: Eligibility for Student Membership

College students preparing for teaching careers shall be eligible for Student Membership.

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Sec. 5: Forfeiture of Membership

Membership in this Union is forfeited by:

  1. two (2) months’ arrearage in annual dues;
  2. expulsion from the Union according to procedures provided in the By-Laws.

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Sec. 6: Reinstatement

Any former member of the Union may be reinstated to membership by procedures provided in the By-Laws.

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ARTICLE III DUES

Every member of this Union shall pay into its treasury regular annual dues as provided in the By-Laws.

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ARTICLE IV MEMBERSHIP AREAS AND DISTRICTS

To the extent possible, the Union shall be divided by schools into three (3) areas – A, B, and C – and into districts within those areas which are as equal as possible and which correspond to the school divisions established by the Board of Education

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ARTICLE V ELECTIVE OFFICERS

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Sec. 1: Titles

The elective officers of the Union shall be: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, seven (7) Trustees, three (3) Area Vice Presidents, and a Functional Vice President for each one thousand (1,000) Union members, or major fraction thereof, in each of the following groups: elementary teachers, high school teachers, clinicians, and career service employees, provided that each of these groups shall have at least one (1) Vice President. The membership in good standing for December 31 preceding an election shall be the determining figure. The Charter Division members shall additionally elect a Chair, Vice Chair, and Charter Division Trustee (who shall be a voting members of the executive board).

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Sec. 2: Term of Office

All elective officers shall be elected for terms of three (3) years and may succeed themselves.

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Sec. 3: Removal from Office

If an officer is removed from membership in the Union under Article XIV of the By-Laws, he or she shall be removed from his/her office automatically and immediately. The vacancy shall be filled as provided for in this Constitution and By-Laws.

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ARTICLE VI HOUSE OF DELEGATES

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Sec. 1: Authority

Subject to the final authority of the membership, the general governing body of the Union shall be a House of Delegates, the members of which shall be members of the Union in good standing, elected by vote of their constituent Union members. The House may consider and act upon any matter that it regards as pertinent to the purposes and activities of this Union.

Each member of the House of Delegates shall have full voting privileges (except as provided for in Article VI Sec. 2), except members representing retired members shall not vote on the authorization of a strike or the acceptance or the rejection of a partial or final collective bargaining agreement.

Action by the House to authorize a strike or accept or reject a partial or final collective bargaining agreement shall be advisory only and in both instances shall be subject to a final, direct vote of the regular members.

The House of Delegates shall determine the actual date of any strike.

The manner of such voting shall be set by the House except that the House may never authorize indirect (proxy) voting.

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Sec. 2: How Constituted

Executive Board Members – Each member of the Executive Board shall be a member of the House of Delegates. Appointed members to the Executive Board who are not elected to the House shall have the right to speak on the floor in House meetings but not to a vote.

Regular Members – Each school (Charter and District) or citywide representative unit shall have at least one (1) Delegate and additional Associate Delegates to the House of Delegates as follows:

Number of Regular Members at the School or Citywide Representative UnitHouse of Delegates Members from that School or Citywide Representative Unit
1 to 59 1 Delegate
60 to 99 1 Delegate and 1 Associate Delegate
100 to 139 1 Delegate and 2 Associate Delegates
And one (1) additional Associate Delegate for every forty members thereafter

 

Retired Members – One Delegate shall be elected for each one hundred (100) retired members.

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Sec. 3: Term of Office

1) Term of a Delegate shall be three (3) years, providing he/she retains membership in good standing in the Union. 2) The Delegate shall be elected for a three (3) year term beginning in January 1997. The term of office shall begin February 1.

Whenever a Delegate ceases to be a part of the unit or functional group which that Delegate was elected to represent, he/she or any member of the unit shall notify the Financial Secretary after which the position shall be declared vacant by the Financial Secretary and a new election shall be held as soon as practicable to fill the position for the remainder of the term.

Upon petition from the local school to the Rules-Elections Committee, a member who is absent from three (3) consecutive meetings of the House, without explanation made to the Financial Secretary, shall be considered to have vacated his/her position, and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in this Constitution and By-Laws.

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ARTICLE VII EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE and EXECUTIVE BOARD

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Sec. 1: Authority

Subject to direction and sanction by the House of Delegates, as provided in the By-Laws, the general administration of the Union shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, subject, however, to the authority of the Executive Board.

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Sec. 2: Constituted of the Executive Board

The Executive Board shall consist of all the elected officers as specified in Article V of the Constitution; the Chair, Vice Chair and Trustee of the Charter Division; one (1) non-voting “New Organizing” Chair selected by the Charter Division; two (2) members of the Union’s delegation to the Chicago Federation of Labor chosen by the President, a Functional Vice President of Retired Members who shall be elected by that group; any member of the Union who is a major officer of the American Federation of Teachers or the Illinois Federation of Teachers; the chairpersons of Chicago Teachers Union’s standing committees and the Editor of the official Union publication.

The above described officers of the American Federation of Teachers and Illinois Federation of Teachers, the chairpersons of standing committees, and all members of the Union’s professional staff shall have the right to the floor in Executive Board meetings but not to a vote.

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ARTICLE VIII BOARD OF TRUSTEES

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Sec. 1: Authority of the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees shall have general supervision of the property and finances of the Local, subject to the provisions of the By-Laws.

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Sec. 2: Budget Committee

The Board of Trustees, the President, the Vice President, the Recording Secretary, and the Financial Secretary, shall comprise the Budget Committee which shall prepare the annual budget in accordance with acceptable accounting procedures and with the assistance of the Union’s certified public accountants. The chairperson of the Board of Trustees shall be the chairperson of the Budget Committee.

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ARTICLE IX STANDING COMMITTEES

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Sec. 1: The Union shall have standing committees with such functions as are provided in the By-Laws.

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Sec. 2: The Membership Committee shall consist of the Financial Secretary, the three Area Vice Presidents, and the District Organizers.

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Sec. 3: The chairperson and members of each standing committee shall be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Executive Board. The chairperson and members of the standing committees shall be appointed for a term of two (2) years.

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ARTICLE XDELEGATES

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Sec. 1: CPS School Delegates

  1. In each CPS District and Charter school, one (1) regular teacher member shall be elected the School Delegate. The School Delegate shall be the ranking officer of the Union in each school.
  2. How and When Chosen – The School Delegate shall be elected by the Union teacher members in the school by a plurality of the votes cast as provided in Article V. Sec. 2a of the By-Laws. Delegates shall be elected and certified to the Financial Secretary on or before February 1 in an election year. In the event no Delegate is elected, the chairperson of the Membership Committee shall, after sufficient notice to members involved, submit to the Executive Board the name of a Union teacher member from the school who will serve as a non-voting Delegate.

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Sec. 2: Other Delegates

  1. Delegates representing groups other than elementary or high school teachers shall be elected by the members of their respective groups.
  2. Schools shall be allowed to elect a temporary delegate replacement, with all voting powers afforded to that school, in the event and at such time that their School delegate is on an extended leave. Upon the conclusion of aforementioned leave, the School delegate shall return to his/her former role and replace the temporary delegate.

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ARTICLE XICHARTER SCHOOL DIVISION

Members employed at CPS Charter schools shall be subject to the terms of this Constitution, shall elect CTU Officers per Article V of the CTU Constitution, shall elect Charter School Division officers who shall also serve on CTU governing bodies, and shall negotiate and ratify their labor contracts.

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Section 1. Charter Division Governing Board

  1. The Charter Division Governing Board shall meet five (5) times per year, or at the call of the Charter Division Chair, or at the call of two (2) or more of its members, for the purpose of initiating, overseeing or revising the program of the organization and to conduct other business of the organization that is within its authority and not inconsistent with the terms of this Constitution and By-Laws. A quorum for the Charter Board shall be one-half of its members.
  2. The Charter Board shall consist of the Charter Division’s elected officers, the Chair of each Charter School Council and all other voting and non-voting members of the House of Delegates within the charter division. The CTU President or his/her designee shall serve on the Charter Board but shall not have a vote.
  3. The Charter Board shall establish all standing and special committees and approve the chairperson and membership of all committees, and receive regular reports from such committees.

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Section 2. Charter Division Board and Membership Meetings

  1. The Membership Meeting shall meet twice yearly at a predetermined time and place, or more or less often as approved by the majority vote of assembled members in the regularly constituted Membership Meeting. A Quorum for the Membership Meeting shall be five percent (5%) of total membership of the division. Action items shall require a simple majority of votes when cast in the Membership Meeting.
  2. Special Membership meetings may be called by the Chair (or acting Chair), by a majority of the Charter Board or by petition to the Charter Board of fifteen percent (15%) of the members in good standing. The notice of the special meeting and the agenda shall be circulated to all members at least seven (7) days in advance of the meeting. Items not included on the agenda for the special meeting will not be addressed. All special meetings shall be adequately advertised and conducted according to the provisions of this Constitution.
  3. The Charter Board shall receive and approve division committee reports, including financial reports or audits; and shall develop and vote on resolutions to guide the policy of the organization, subject to the provisions of this Constitution and By-Laws.

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Section 3. Charter School Network Councils

  1. Each represented Charter School Network shall constitute a separate Council within the Charter School Division. Under no circumstances shall there be more than one (1) Council at any worksite.
  2. Each Council shall adopt its own by-laws, which are subject to review and approval by the Charter Board and the CTU President, and shall not conflict with this Constitution and By-Laws or any policy adopted by the Charter Division Board or the House of Delegates. The by-laws must include provisions to elect a Council Chair, Secretary, and other Council Officers if appropriate, and Delegates to the Charter Board, and must otherwise comply with the provisions of this Article.
  3. Councils shall meet regularly to discuss and take action upon issues that are of particular relevance to the Council. Councils may, at any time, refer matters of general interest to the Charter Division Board. Councils provide a channel of communication between the organization and individual members. Each Council shall establish an elected bargaining committee for the purpose of negotiating single or multi-employer labor agreements, with the assistance of the CharterDivision Board. Any strike must be authorized by a majority of the affected employees voting, subject to approval by the Charter Division Board and CTU President.
  4. Councils are subordinate to the Charter Division Board. If a Council fails to elect leadership or take any other necessary action when required to do so, the Charter Division Chair, with the advice and consent of the Charter Division Board, shall take whatever action is necessary to best serve the membership.
  5. Terms of Office and Vacancies. Council Elections for officers and delegates shall be conducted in accordance with the AFT Constitution, the standards set out by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), and the provisions of their own by-laws provided are consistent with this Constitution and By-Laws. Term of office shall not exceed three (3) years. Each member shall have a reasonable opportunity to be nominated for office. Notice of the nominations and election of Council officers shall be provided to each member at least fifteen (15) days in advance of the nomination and the election. Elections shall be by secret ballot and held at each worksite. Results shall be published by campus and submitted to the Charter Board at its next meeting. If any Council Officer or delegate vacates the position, the remaining Council Officers and Delegates shall elect another member to fill the unexpired term of the vacated office.

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Section 4. Duties of Charter Division Officers

  1. The Charter Division Chair shall be the principal officer of the Charter Division, shall serve on the CTU Executive Board, and shall have the following duties:
    1. be the presiding officer at all meetings of the membership and the Charter Board;
    2. be an ex-officio member of all Charter Division standing committees except the Elections Committee;
    3. be the principal executive officer of the Charter Division;
    4. receive, report and respond to correspondence of the organization;
    5. represent the Charter Division before employer bodies and before executive and legislative officials;
    6. represent the Charter Division before the public, community organizations, and the news media;
    7. serve as a delegate to any labor body, affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, or otherwise as appropriate;
    8. make an annual report to the organization's membership; and
    9. delegate the responsibilities of the office except where otherwise specified by the Constitution;
    10. shall serve as a nonvoting member of the CTU Executive Committee; and
    11. shall serve as a voting member of the House of Delegates and Executive Board.
  2. The Charter Division Vice Chair shall serve on the CTU Executive Board and shall have the following duties:
    1. assume the duties of the Chair in the event of the absence, illness, or death of the Chair;
    2. oversee the work of and receive regular reports from the organizing committee.
    3. perform other duties delegated by the Chair or assigned by the Charter Board;
    4. shall serve as a voting member of the House of Delegates and Executive Board.
  3. The Charter Division Trustee shall serve on the CTU Executive Board as a CTU Trustee and shall have the following duties:
    1. maintain the financial and files and records of the Charter Division;
    2. perform other duties delegated by the Chair or assigned by the Charter Board; and
    3. shall serve as a voting member of the House of Delegates
  4. The Charter Division Secretary shall have the following duties:
    1. maintain the non-financial files and records of the Charter Division;
    2. record and keep accurate minutes of meetings of the membership and the Charter Division Board;
    3. assist the Chair in handling the correspondence of the Division;
    4. oversee the work of, and receive and certify the reports of, the Elections Committee;
    5. perform other duties delegated by the Chair or assigned by the Charter Board; and
    6. shall serve as a nonvoting member of the House of Delegates unless separately elected as a delegate to that body.

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Section 5. Election of Charter Division Officers and vacancies

  1. Elections shall be conducted in accordance with the AFT Constitution and the standards set out by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). Officers shall be elected every three (3) years concurrent with the CTU Officers per Article V of the By-Laws. The Charter Division will elect the following officers: Charter Division Chair; Charter Division Vice Chair; Charter Division Trustee and Charter Division Secretary.
  2. To be eligible for office a person must be a member in good standing of the Union and employed at a represented CPS Charter School for a period of two (2) years prior to the date of the election. However, this minimum period of membership shall be six (6) months if the member is in a bargaining unit represented by the Union for less than two (2) years.
  3. The Elections Committee shall conduct all elections and referenda of the Charter Division at which only Charter Division members vote. The Elections Committee shall consist of three (3) members in good standing appointed by the Charter Chair with the approval of the Charter Board. The Elections Committee shall elect its chair at least thirty (30) days prior to nominations. No member of the Elections Committee may be nominated for office.
  4. At least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the election, the Elections Committee shall publish the rules for nominations and elections and shall notify all members of the opening of nominations for officers, the offices to be filled and of the date of the election mail to each member’s home or school site mail box.
  5. The nomination of candidates for office shall be by petition. To be nominated a candidate must submit to the Elections Committee a petition containing the signatures of at least: 1) twenty-five (25) of Charter Division members; or 2) seventy-five percent (75%) of the members in the candidate’s council; whichever is less. Petitions must be submitted no later than fifteen (15) days following the posted notice of the opening of nominations. Members nominated to run for office must affirmatively accept their nomination. If only one (1) eligible candidate is nominated for an office, the candidate shall be declared elected and no election shall be held.
  6. Challenges and objections to the election must be submitted in writing, with a statement of supporting reasons that includes specific facts as well as any documentation, to the Elections Committee within five (5) days of the count. The Elections Committee shall issue its written opinion regarding the objections no later than ten (10) days after receipt of such objections. Rulings of the Elections Committee may be appealed to the CTU President.
  7. With the exception of the Charter Division Chair, the Charter Division Board will have the power to fill vacancies in its membership until the next general election of officers.

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Section 6. Election of CTU Officers and Delegates to the CTU House of Delegates

The Election of CTU Officers, School delegates to the CTU House of Delegates, and other CTU Offices for which Charter Division members vote shall be conducted by the Election Committee under Bylaw Article V.

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ARTICLE XIISPECIAL GROUPS

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Sec. 1: Regular Members

Regular members of the Union whose duties are such as to prevent them from being permanent members of any one school may attend meetings in the district or school where they may be employed at the time meetings are held.

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Sec. 2: Inactive Associate Members

All Inactive Associate Members may attend all general meetings.

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Sec. 3: Retired Functional Group Members

All Retired Functional Group members may attend all general meetings.

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ARTICLE XIIISAFEGUARDS AND OBLIGATIONS

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Sec. 1: This Union shall not promote or permit itself to be used to promote any advantage for any member or particular group of its members, unless the House of Delegates shall decide by majority vote that such action is in the interest of the Union as a whole.

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Sec. 2: The union shall not take any action affecting a particular group of its members without the advice and counsel of that group.

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Sec. 3: This Union shall not promote any political party on the federal, state, or local level or any social or economic creed or theory unless such action shall have been previously endorsed by at least two-thirds vote of both the Executive Board and of the House of Delegates or by one of the labor bodies with which the Union is affiliated.

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Sec. 4: The Union shall not make any distinction among its members on account of race, ethnicity, biological sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, or political, social, religious, or economic views.

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Sec. 5: The members of this Union hereby declare their faith in each other and their consequent insistence upon the maintenance of the democratic processes and of the representative form of government by which the Union functions in all relations between the Union and its members.

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Sec. 6: No provisions of this Constitution or its By-Laws shall be valid which is in violation of the Constitution or By-Laws of the American Federation of Teachers.

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Sec. 7: The results of any referendum of the membership of the Union, including the referendum called to vote on this amendment, and the results of any vote for election of Union officers, shall be posted on the Union’s official website immediately following such vote or referendum. The posting shall include the number of affirmative and negative votes cast at each school or polling place in each referendum. The posting shall include the number of votes cast for each officer candidate in each school or polling place, and by classification of members voting by mail ballot in each election.

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ARTICLE XIVAMENDMENTS AND REFERENDA

This Constitution, with the exception of this article, may be amended by a two-thirds vote at any meeting of the House of Delegates, provided that notice of the proposed amendment and a copy thereof was in the call for the meeting, and provided further that the amendment was published to the membership not less than ten (10) days previous to the meeting.

Any question, including amendments to this Constitution, shall, on recommendation of the Executive Board or on recommendation of the House of Delegates, or on petition of five percent (5%) of the membership of the Union, be decided instead by referendum of the regular membership of the Union. A majority of votes cast shall decide the issue.

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ARTICLE XV AMENDMENTS AND REFERENDA OF THE CHARTER DIVISION

Any amendment to Article XI (Charter Division) must also be approved by a majority of voting Charter Division members.

 

 

Chicago Teachers Union