Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CTU House of Delegates Endorses Garcia for Mayor, Shunning Fioretti

Here is a report from Chicago teacher Jim Vail, an internal critic of CORE and the CTU leadership. We reported the other day on the breaking situation (Chicago Teacher Union Update - Where Does ISO Stand? George Schmidt and Lee Sustar in Socialist Worker).

Someone in MORE said: Schmidt and Sustar threw Karen Lewis under the bus. I am trying to keep myself to hearing from all sides on this, though from what I can tell the CTU and CORE leadership people have not responded other than to issue calls for unity. Reminds me of the UFT critiques of ed notes and other oppositionists - keep it in house, etc. I even get that in MORE too - don't air dirty laundry in public.

To catch you up. Fioretti has always supported the current CTU in every way - and some think that after Karen Lewis pulled out of the mayoral race, represents the best chance to defeat Rahm Emanuel or finish 2nd and force a head to head runoff. But in what looks like playing racial politics, the CTU leadership came up with their own candidate at the relative last minute. A Latino who might play better they seem to think in minority communities even though he is so far behind Fioretti in terms of getting signatures to get on the ballot -- and in fact wouldn't have a chance without the efforts of the CTU. If they had followed normal democratic procedures, people might have lived with it. But when it looked like strong-armed measures, there has been a reaction.

I got to hang with Jim Vail at the AFT convention in Seattle in 2010 and in Detroit in 2012. But Jim was off the slate for the last convention and has been critical. Here is his latest report on the CTU DA last week which endorsed Chuy by a 2-1 margin.
I'll follow up later with stuff from George Schmidt who plays a similar role in Chicago as I do here - except he is much more politically astute and also is a real reporter. Some of this stuff is just so sad.


CTU Endorses Chuy!

House of Delegates Votes to Endorse Chuy!
By Jim Vail

The Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted to endorse Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for Mayor.

According to delegates present who spoke to Second City Teachers after the meeting Wednesday, Nov. 5, the debate was spirited, with many questioning the process.

The question for several was - who is "Chuy" Garcia, and why was this process being rushed?

Delegate and pension trustee Jay Rehak proposed a counter resolution to postpone an endorsement until all the petitions were collected and the candidates were on the ballot, a high school delegate told Second City.

This resolution was voted down, he said.

The CTU political director Stacy Gates made the argument that Garcia can win the general election against current mayor Rahm Emanuel, who's negative rating is quite high after infuriating the black community by closing a record 50 schools a year ago, the delegates said.

Union officials also evoked the image of Garcia as a progressive friend of the CTU who worked to help elect Harold Washington as mayor of the city many years ago. 

The fact of the matter is, Garcia is the floor leader for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, a liberal wing of the democratic machine.

The CTU pulled its punches tonight to show the Chicago machine they can bring home the bacon and get the teachers to endorse a liberal, though mostly unknown, Cook County machine candidate.

The union was able to get a majority of delegates in about a 2 to 1 margin to vote in favor of the Garcia endorsement, delegates told Second City News. 

There were several Core activists who spoke in favor of Garcia, while no convincing argument was made to support Alderman Bob Fioretti, who has been a declared mayoral candidate and staunch teachers union supporter for many years, the delegate said.

One delegate estimated about 3 delegates spoke in favor of Garcia, for every one that called to postpone the endorsement.

Second City Teachers called it.

Chuy Garcia is endorsed by the delegates, a done deal before it even happened? That's certainly what we think when it comes to living in a managed democracy where the choices are vetted before anyone has a chance to understand what they are really voting for.


  1. It looks from here like CTU is handing the election to Rahm on a silver platter.

  2. Why are our union leaders shying away from pro-public education candidates? If this is racial, how sad. However, if this guy truly has a good chance of winning, it has to be with all voters, not just minorities.

  3. I went to school with Garcia and proud to say so! There's hope again for Chicago and all of us. My bet is he will remain progressive as Mayor unlike Bill.


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