As the Chicago Teachers Union strike enters its second week of putting 400,000 Chicago kids on the streets, an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune indicates that CTU boss Karen Lewis may have lost control of her union:
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and the union’s other top brass have spent months fueling their membership’s anger through street marches, meeting sit-ins and hostile rhetoric as negotiations for a new contract have dragged on.
But curbing that vitriol enough to seal a deal now could be Lewis’ biggest challenge when the union’s delegates gather Tuesday to vote for a second time on ending their strike.
But as in many labor organizations, Lewis is faced with uniting a membership that spans the political spectrum. In CTU, that ranges from high-ranking officials who have written for socialist websites to more traditional members simply concerned with working conditions. Some of those more radical factions inside and outside her labor organization are now attacking her and others in union leadership.
Leaflets calling Lewis a “sellout” for concessions agreed to with CPS were distributed to union delegates at Sunday’s meeting. That phrase surfaced again among frustrated delegates as they left the meeting with few concrete details about the contract proposal and with serious concerns about what they were being asked to sign.
Members of socialist organizations, some of whom are union delegates, also took Lewis to task for failing to disclose more to delegates.
“This was done to allow the CTU (leadership) sufficient time to ‘package’ the sellout, and the membership insufficient time to consider it,” according to commentary that a socialist organization said it handed out to delegates at the meeting. [Emphasis added.]
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