Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rank and File Opposition (CORE) Sweeps Chicago Teacher Pension Elections

"In what can only be described as a stunning upset, two Chicago public schools teachers, Lois Ashford (O'Keefe Elementary School) and Jay Rehak (Whitney Young High School) decisively defeated two incumbents to win seats on the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) in an election held in all Chicago public schools and most of the city's charter schools on October 30, 2009." George Schmidt for Substance

George Schmidt called with the news yesterday and Substance is running a major article on its web site. There are lots of lessons for us in trying to build a movement within the union here in NYC.

Deteriorating conditions for public ed in Chicago, after 15 years of mayoral control are way ahead of NYC so a CORE type group emerging may have been inevitable. We should see the same type of development here within the next few years as the privatization movement accelerates. But the CTU has a much weaker leadership in terms of control than the uft. Core has a chance to actually win in the union election in May.

George's full article is at

Here's another report from a CORE member:

Rank and File Opposition Sweeps Chicago Teacher Pension Elections
by Jesse Sharkey, Caucus Of Rank and File Educators (CORE)

Rank and File activists swept the election for the Chicago Teacher Pension Fund trustees (two were up for election) Friday night.

Jay Rehak, a teacher at Chicago's Whitney Young High School, and Lois Ashford, a teacher at O'Keefe Elementary were elected pension trustees to oversee the Pension Fund's $8 billion assets.

The election was significant because pension trustees will have to play an increasingly active role in defending the. The fund has been specifically targeted by, the new CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and many teachers fear their retirement is under threat. Huberman slashed the Chicago Transit Authority pension when he ran that agency in 2007, raising retirement age by ten years.

The election is also significant as an indicator of the popularity of the four main groups vying for control of the union.

Vote totals below indicate that CORE's candidates (Rehak and Ashford) beat out the current leadership's United Progressive Caucus candidates, Williams and Otero, while Finnegan--running with former president Debbie Lynch's Pro Active Chicago Teachers caucus, and Demeros (unaffiliated) brought up the rear.

The unexpected result signals that CORE may be the favorite to win the race for leadership of the CTU, coming up in May.

Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund 2009 Teacher Election
Final Vote Summary - October 30, 2009

* Jay Rehak 6,551 23.72%
* Lois Ashford 4,842 17.53%
Nancy Williams 4,799 17.38%
Reina Otero 4,115 14.90%
Rose Mary Finnegan 3,037 11.00%
Aspasia Demeros 2,137 7.74%
Unexercised Vote 1,711 6.19%
Multiple Mark 428 1.55%



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