Monday, February 10, 2020

Chicago Teachers Don't Endorse Bernie Sanders As Warren Supporters Push Back

Bernie Sanders courted the Chicago teachers union endorsement. Here’s why it didn’t happen.... Chalkbeat 
If there was any union you would expect to endorse Bernie Sanders, next to L.A., the CTU would be the one. But it didn't happen.
Chalkbeat  reports:  Shortly before Chicago teachers went on an 11-day strike this fall, Sen. Bernie Sanders headlined a rally at the union’s headquarters. The space was packed with teachers, many carrying blue “Bernie” signs. His appearance was a show of support for Chicago educators as they pushed for a contract guaranteeing higher pay, smaller class sizes, and more social workers and school nurses. And in his speech, Sanders linked his presidential bid to the union’s fight.
So what happened?
This report from Substance has some details of the CTU Del Ass last week where the Sanders endorsement recommended by the CTU Ex Bd to the Delegate Assembly (their chapter leaders) was rejected by a slim margin. Which is interesting and demonstrates the leadership control is not solid (here in NYC there is no way an EB reco would be rejected by the DA). In 2016, CORE caucus which is in power endorsed Bernie but the leadership wouldn't follow suit and I believe that was the work of Randi and her gang in keeping them officially out of Bernie's hands and it wouldn't shock me that Randy's hand was operating on some of the leadership in the CTU.
The PAC/LEG committee offered no endorsement for the U.S. presidency. The last time it did was 2008 (Obama). However, the CTU E-Board recommended that we endorse Sanders for president. Note: Even if we endorse someone for president the law forbids any monetary contribution. Delegates Beth Eisenbach and Tara Stamps spoke against endorsing Sanders (International High School), Debby Pope and one other delegate spoke in favor of it before the question was called. The vote was 121 in favor, 136 against, and 28 abstentions. I voted in favor of the measure.
At this point Stacy Davis Gates went to the floor and motioned that the CTU take an official position of neutrality as opposed to looking like we rejected Sanders. After a short debate the House voted in favor of neutrality with one “No” vote.... Substance, February meeting of the CTU House of Delegates By George Milkowski - February 7th, 2020 
Chicago area long-time union activist Fred Klonsky sheds some more light (click the link to read it all).
Some teacher locals like Los Angeles, have moved to endorse Sanders. The Boston Teachers Union and the MA-AFT endorsed Warren, while the MTA, the largest union in the state and affiliated with the NEA has not voted on endorsement. But Chicago may be more typical. Members are divided. The endorsement process and use of political action money by the teacher unions – one out of five union members in the country are in the AFT or NEA – is in disarray. From here it seems like a case of chickens coming home to roost.... Fred Klonsky: More on union endorsements and political action money. No CTU endorsement for Bernie.
After the left-leaning teacher union in Los Angeles (UTLA) endorsed Bernie last fall I expected Chicago to follow due to the similarities in the politics of the leaderships. But one of my correspondents in the CTU who opposes the leadership disagreed and kept assuring me that the CTU would endorse Warren. At that time word was floating around that Randi was favoring Warren so I expected there might be signs of Warren support. Given what I know, the CTU Ex Bd would endorse Bernie but there must be enough Warren people to create doubts. Knowing the internal politics and how Warren is viewed by many on the left as being more centrist than people think, there must be some gnashing of teeth. A vote of 136-121 is pretty close, esp with 28 abstentions. The 138 is not necessarily an anti-Bernie vote but reflects the uncertainty we are all feeling.

But do note that none of the other candidates are even in the discussion. No Biden, Pete, Amy - no centrists at all.

Compare that to the UFT where Mulgrew is sending a message by running as a Biden delegate to the convention, which at this point seems just plain weird but a sign of where the leadership of the UFT is coming from - and expect the UFT Del Ass to be roughly in line with them. In other words -- Bernie couldn't get a cup of coffee. Are teachers in Chicago and LA so much more progressive than here in NYC or are we missing something? One thing I know - even in the fractured former opposition where the ICE and MORE crowd on the left have a number of disagreements, all of us pretty much align with Bernie as you can tell from these blogs:
Bernie Sanders Catch 22 -


The left in the teacher union forms Labor for Bernie groups (I am a member) and uses the UTLA endorsement of Bernie as an example, and there seemed to be little pushback in LA even if the process used (Bernie or bust) had some flaws in terms of members who support other candidates, as I pointed out in November.

In more divided unions there is a problem and Fred also points to a history of union endorsements and how the funds are allocated. The late George Schmidt broke with the leadership over a flawed endorsement strategy. I reported on that story in Nov. 2014:
Now that a faction of the leadership of the union has surrendered its last pretexts at transparency and democracy.... George Schmidt on the Chicago Teachers Union, Nov. 2014, Chicago Teacher Union Update -  George Schmidt in Substance and Lee Sustar in Socialist Worker
I wrote in Ed Notes: Los Angeles Teachers Endorse Bernie, Chicago May Follow, wither the UFT? -- November 18, 2019.

Some more thoughts and links on the issue:

EDNOTES: Iowa Results Not so Positive for Bernie, Romney for Dem Candidate for Pres, KOD for Joe: Mulgrew Goes Biden, Could UFT Back Bloomberg?

1 comment:

  1. Many of Bernie's supporters feel that he is being sabotaged. This could be a disaster as many say they will abstain from voting in the general election if this is the case. Bernie has to win the primary.


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