Policy: Labor

Teachers union vows to oust Chicago mayor

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Education,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Chicago,Teachers Unions

Another epic showdown between a local government leader and a public-sector union? Looks like it will happen. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has vowed to take down Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

The historic vote on Wednesday to shutter 50 schools has served as a rallying point for the Chicago Teachers Union as its president vows to field a challenger against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 re-election.

But while nine aldermen showed up at the Chicago Board of Education meeting to criticize the school closings, just one referred to Emanuel at all.

CTU President Karen Lewis said redemption for Wednesday’s vote could come only at the ballot box.

“Clearly, we have to change the political landscape in the city,” Lewis said. “We have to go back to old-style democracy.” (Emphasis added.)

The union announced that it’s hosting the first in a series of training sessions Thursday for volunteers to register 100,000 new voters.

The Huffington Post details their organizing efforts:

The union’s plan includes ramping up political activity for the purpose of ousting Emanuel, though the plans don’t stop with the mayor: The CTU has also vowed to dismantle the mayoral-appointed school board and replace it with an elected one.

Lewis told NPR the “cowboy-mentality” of how the mayor wields power over the school board is “out of control.”

“We’re starting our deputy registration, and we will be registering voters across the city,” Lewis said.

True to their word, the union already has a voter registration scheduled for Thursday at South Side church in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood.

For some further background on the Emanuel-Lewis battle read my column on the subject from last month. To understand just how radical the CTU is, read this post from last September. To understand just how much contempt Lewis has for Emanuel, watch this video of her speech to the New York Collective of Radical Educators.

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