United Progressive Caucus for the Chicago Teacher's Union

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Upcoming Dates:

Bowling for Better CTU
Thursday, February 21st
4:45-6:45 PM Bowling
6:45-8:00 PM Pizza
Diversey River Bowl
2211 W. Diversey Ave
Details in this PDF

All Meetings Are Held At:
Pompei Restaurant
1531 W. Taylor St
5:00 p.m.

April 10
May 1
May 29

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The United Progressive Caucus (UPC) has been the leading voice within the Chicago Teachers Union since the first contract in 1967 through the current contract and administration of President Marilyn Stewart. United Progressive Caucus, UPC, Chicago Teachers Union, Chicago Teacher, CTU, teacher caucus, Marilyn Stewart, improved working conditions, salary increases, Chicago Teacher, Union Teacher, Caucus, CORE, Teachers, Chicago, Union, Public Education, Educators, Rank-and-File, Chicago Board of Education, CPS . United Progressive Cacus Chicago Teachers Pension Fund


ioCoalition to Save Our Union  

An alliance of concerned UPC/PACT/Independent CTU Members


All of us in CTU have spent a lot of time in meetings and in the streets this year. We’ve stuck together, fought together and given the current leadership the votes and support it needed to fight. What has the leadership given us in return? Firings, cutbacks and folding under pressure.

Because of our concern about what is happening in our union, CTU members affiliated with the United Progressive Caucus (UPC), the ProActive Chicago Teachers (PACT) Caucus, and non-affiliated Independent CTU members have formed a Coalition to bring leadership to the Union that can not only get headlines but results.

We are running a slate of candidates in the May 2013 Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) election – candidates with years of successful experience representing union members and negotiating contracts. We remember what we fought for and the little that we’ve gotten under the current leadership.

  • We’re working longer days and a longer year: the "raise" is really a 3% pay cut.
  • Lewis could have stopped school closings but agreed to a contract with no moratorium on them.
  • Testing has reached such a frenzy that 5 year olds have to take 14 standardized tests a year and the Lewis administration has done nothing to stop this.
  • Contractual value-added evaluations in the REACH system give principals more power than ever before, and have been severely criticized by researchers as unreliable measures of teacher effectiveness.
  • The Lewis contract gave away seniority as the only consideration in layoffs and members are under more fear over job security and capricious administrators than ever before.
  • The Lewis administration has little credibility with state legislators after Lewis accused them of tricking her and changing agreed upon language in the severely anti-union Senate Bill 7 legislation she supported.
  • Member pensions are in great jeopardy, and with lessened union influence and credibility in the legislature, we don't have the power we need to fight back.

What Makes the Coalition Slate different?
We believe in power in the streets and in the suites – We know how to take the power of our members to the negotiating table.  They protest and rally.

We believe the Union must not only organize but also serve its members – Our team knows how to fight for and negotiate grievances and contracts.  They protest and rally.

We believe teachers and school staff know the schools best – Our team will ensure our voice is heard in all decisions regarding learning conditions and working conditions.  They protest and rally.

Coalition Officer Candidates:
For CTU President: Tanya Saunders-Wolffe, Jesse Owens Community Academy
For CTU Vice-President: Mark Ochoa, Luke O’Toole Elementary School
For CTU Financial Secretary: Kelly McFarlane, George Washington High School
For CTU Recording Secretary: Mary Ellen Sanchez, Michael M. Byrne Elementary School 




Show Me What Democracy Looks Like!

What has this group (Karen Lewis and Company) done for YOU lately?  NOTHING – she is too busy organizing parents, outside groups and non-union workers. 

Lewis is responsible for:

  •   Senate Bill 7 being passed, hurting Chicago teachers more than any other piece of legislation in recent history!
  •   Loss of 4% increase in compensation for the 2007-2012 contract.
  •   Loss of thousands of teacher positions because of school closings. 
  •   Lack of clout.  2012 was the first time ever that NO schools were removed from the school action list.
  •   Lack of representation.  More “organizers” were hired; fewer field representatives to assist members.

You are invited to be part of the CHANGE we need!  Join the UPC.  We are the caucus that:

  •   Bargained the 2007-2012 Contract
  • 4% raise each year of the Agreement
  • Made SURE the contract was honored
  •   Negotiated past contracts
  • First inserted the provision for the BOARD-guaranteed 7% pension pick-up

When is a 3% raise no raise at all?
Remember when the independent mediator Edwin Benn ruled that teachers deserve a raise of 15-20% in the first year alone?  He also stated that CTU members deserve more pay for a longer school day.  This fact-finding process came about as result of the passage of Senate Bill 7.  SB7 also enabled CPS to increase the length of the school day and year, without bargaining over the changes.  HOWEVER, the “impact” of this additional time CAN BE BARGAINED.  Why wasn’t this done?
CTU, aka Karen Lewis and Company, should have demanded higher wages to offset additional work time.  CORE, her caucus and team, dropped the ball.
Members are still reeling from the disappointing retroactive paychecks.

  • Members now work 208 days, rather than 203 days
  • Teachers are grossing less than $16 more per pay period, less than $1.60 per day.  PSRPs are grossing even less!
  • 90 minutes more + $1.60 more!  Outrageous!!!
  • Health care increased, since it is based on a percentage of salary.  Fixed % x increased pay = increased cost.  Deduct this from that $1.60 per day increase.
  • Members who worked the 2012 summer school session did NOT receive the 3% raise.  What is LEWIS & Company doing?  Nothing
  • Members are being sold a bill of goods regarding the prep period increase.  Actually, teachers now have less self-directed time than ever before! 
  • Evaluation procedures are sloppily implemented and poorly explained.  Why isn’t the CTU representing members?
  • Fewer field representatives are guarding members’ rights, as Karen Lewis insists that members fight their own battles.
  • More responsibility is being given to the over-worked delegates.  With MORE work being demanded at school of the membership, shouldn’t the CTU be representing us?  What has Karen Lewis done for you? 

What salary is the “transparent” Karen Lewis receiving, considering what she has “negotiated” for you?  With salary and benefits well over $300K and a vacation home in Hawaii (with time to enjoy it), she is hardly the advocate she espouses to be!    Is this the leadership that we need?  Is this the representation we deserve?
Is THIS what democracy looks like?  If you don’t think so either -


This is confirmation (again) that charter schools are racially devisive and educationally suspect. Well-written and insightful article...'These "reform" activist cure-alls are more segregated and less successful than regular public schools'


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Dear CTU member,
If you are someone who is interested in getting more involved in union activities, we would be honored to have you as part of our organization.

We would be pleased to add your name to our mailing list and send you a notice of our next meeting once you are approved for membership.

Please complete and mail the form under "Join The UPC", and return it to us at your earliest convenience.

Caryn Block and Edna Otero
United Progressive Caucus


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