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24 Feb

Breaking: Chicago teachers endorse Bernie Sanders!

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Breaking: Chicago teachers endorse Bernie Sanders!
By VL Baker

The O’Leary: GO MARTA!!!

chi teachers

After a heated debate, the Caucus Of Rank-and-file Educators (CORE) of the Chicago Teachers Union voted at its February 22, 2016 regular meeting to endorse the candidacy of Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the March 15, 2015 Democratic Party primary in Illinois. The vote was overwhelming in support of Sanders (this reporter is a member of CORE and was present and voting at the meeting).

The endorsement vote came in part in response to the fact that for more than six months, the Chicago Teachers Union (and hence all CORE members) had been forced to support the Clinton candidacy. The Executive Council of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) had endorsed the Clinton candidacy after a controversial “push poll,” which AFT President Randi Weingarten tried to characterize as a “survey” of the union’s members, hence justifying the early Clinton endorsement.

Go Bernie! Teachers don’t like being ‘forced’ to support Hillary.

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After a heated debate, the Caucus Of Rank-and-file Educators (CORE) of the Chicago Teachers Union voted at its February 22, 2016 regular meeting to endorse the candidacy of Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the March 15, 2015 Democratic Party primary in Illinois. The vote was overwhelming in support of Sanders (this reporter is a member of CORE and was present and voting at the meeting).

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The endorsement came at the end of a lengthy meeting which also considered issues ranging from the ongoing contract negotiations to the threat by Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool to institute a seven percent pay cut against CTU members in late March by rescinding the so-called “pension pickup.”

The endorsement vote came in part in response to the fact that for more than six months, the Chicago Teachers Union (and hence all CORE members) had been forced to support the Clinton candidacy. The Executive Council of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) had endorsed the Clinton candidacy after a controversial “push poll,” which AFT President Randi Weingarten tried to characterize as a “survey” of the union’s members, hence justifying the early Clinton endorsement.

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Because millions of dollars from the CTU budget goes annually to the AFT, CTU members had in fact been providing support — in dollars and in other ways — to the Clinton candidacy for more than six months. Despite attempts by some speakers during the debate to end the meeting early, the debate continued until a final vote was taken. What was not taken was a vote, that had earlier been discussed by not decided, to call for a special meeting of the union’s 800-member House of Delegates prior to the March 15 Illinois voting.

The February 22 meeting included more than 80 people, making it one of the largest meetings in CORE history.

Although the debate was heated, the vote was clear, with a significant majority of the CORE members voting for the Bernie Sanders endorsement. The big news from the February 22 CORE meeting — that CORE has endorsed Bernie Sanders, in opposition to the AFT’s endorsement of the former Wal Mart director, Hillary Clinton, needs to be repeated widely.

There were some attempts by people at the CORE meeting to stall the vote on Bernie (or adjourn the meeting early). Nevertheless, the debate was thorough, and Bernie won cleanly.

One of those trying to deny the Bernie endorsement claimed was that Bernie had not been active in Chicago on “our issues.” In fact, the opposite was true. As the photo at the top of this article shows, Bernie Sanders was the national candidate who came to Chicago and supported “our issues.” Hillary Clinton, the former Wal Mart director, was at the time avoiding Chicago, apparently counting on the manipulation of the tiny AFT leadership clique to bring her money and “support.”

The AFT endorsement of Clinton enabled Randi Weingarten and a faction in the AFT leadership to devote AFT resources, including money and people, to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. As the struggle for the Democratic Party nomination became more and more intense, Hillary Clinton’s record in support of racist attacks on working people (the three “reforms” promoted during the Clinton administration — welfare reform, housing reform, and school reform) and actual support for some of the most odious union busting entities on Earth — Wal Mart.

The AFT leadership has never been challenged to explain how with these records, anyone supposedly representing the working class can still back the Clinton candidacy.


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