Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teacher Union is Real Winner in Chicago Mayoral Election

What did you think when President Obama came in earlier this month and, essentially, made a campaign commercial for Rahm?
Jesse Sharkey: I thought, “Oh, come on, really?” It’s such a desperate, last-minute campaign maneuver. The mayor has a zillion dollars, and a sitting president gives you a hug. Then you get Magic Johnson. It smacked of cheap celebrity endorsement. And it was ineffective....I’d like to see national labor come in a little more. One thing which I found sort of disgraceful is all the trade union people up on stage with Rahm. The fact is that the union rank and file didn’t vote for Rahm.
How do you compare these outcomes in Chicago to the awful outcomes the UFT has had in elections here in NYC? Remember how they couldn't even get their candidate, Bill Thompson, into a runoff with de Blasio a year and a half ago?

Hmmm. Maybe it's the difference between a social justice oriented union with real grass roots instead of the UFT's astroturf.

Let's face it: Chuy Garcia as a candidate barely exists if not for the CTU, which drafted him as an emergency replacement for Karen Lewis when she had to drop out due to illness. And I have no doubt if Karen had run she would have got as many of not more votes than Rahm and he would be running behind her in the runoff.

Now this doesn't mean Chuy is the next mayor -- all sorts of desparate dirty tricks will be played, if not out and out fraud and theft of the election. Remember, a major issue her is Rahm's ed deform policies. Obama stopped by recently to show his support. How big a blow is this vote for Obama in his own home town? I bet he wouldn't get elected mayor.

Here is an interview with Jesse Sharkey who ran the CTU at a crucial time when Karen was ill and the mayoral decisions and organizing had to be made.

I think Jesse's declaring Rahm being finished in Chicago goes beyond whether he holds on to win. A 2nd term will turn out to put him in Cuomo-like hell and hopefully end his political career.

CTU’s Jesse Sharkey Thinks Rahm Is Finished in Chicago

The interim head of the Chicago Teachers Union is one happy guy this morning

It’s the day after Election Day, and most of the analysis undoubtedly will center on what exactly happened that forced Rahm Emanuel into a runoff election against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia on April 7. And while that may be the biggest headline, one other shade to this year’s municipal elections is just how much the Chicago Teachers Union flexed its muscle. 
This morning I called Jesse Sharkey, the 45-year-old former high school teacher who took over as head of the CTU when Karen Lewis was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last fall (she has since returned to work). For more on who Sharkey is and what drives him, read my interview with him from last November (part 1 here, part 2 here).

Sharkey was on his way to work and tired—out late at Garcia’s victory party—but exalting in Garcia’s victory, not to mention the slew of victories (or at least forced runoffs) of CT-backed aldermanic candidates. Garcia will be the next mayor, Sharkey says, adding that politics in Chicago has changed forever.
How important is it that Chuy has forced Rahm into a runoff?
Extremely important. Remember, Chuy got in late [he entered the race in late October]. He announced his candidacy with only three weeks to go before nominating petitions were due. We brought a lot of very committed people to this contest, especially in parts of the south and west sides. We had 100 percent committed volunteers working outdoors in brutally cold weather.

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