Teachers elect Lewis to 2nd term as CTU head

Tribune reporter

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, an often controversial leader who took on Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a strike last fall and has been leading the fight against the district’s plan to close schools, was reelected to a second three-year term Friday, according to preliminary and still unofficial results released by the union.

The Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) slate led by Lewis retained other officer positions, which includes vice president Jesse Sharkey, the union said.

Teachers voted at their schools throughout the day. Challenging Lewis was a slate of candidates led by Tanya Saunders-Wolffe, a Chicago Public Schools counselor.

Saunders-Wolffe’s Coalition to Save our Union caucus is comprised of members from former CTU President Marilyn Stewart's United Progressive Caucus; the Pro Active Chicago Teachers Caucus, which led CTU until 2004; and independent union members.

Lewis ousted former president Stewart in a runoff election in 2010.

When she announced her candidacy in Feburary, Saunders-Wolffe said contract negotiations didn’t result in sufficient raises for teachers and that Lewis “didn’t deliver at the bargaining table” with issues surrounding teacher seniority and teacher evaluations.

She also said Lewis hadn’t done enough to fight the district’s plan to close 53 elementary schools and one high school program.

The fight against the closings plan has been Lewis’ primary focus since the strike. The union earlier this week filed two federal lawsuits challenging the closures, and this weekend has scheduled a series of marches before a Monday rally. The Board of Education is set to vote on the closing plan Wednesday.Ö5/22.


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