CTU strike frames vote

From the March-April 2015 issue of News & Letters

Chicago—Election Day in Chicago, Feb. 24, made the historic nine-day Chicago Teachers Union strike in 2012 a pivotal issue again as the candidate supported by the CTU forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff.

The $30 million campaign war chest of “Mayor 1%” was not enough to buy him a majority, with voters making the election a referendum on union busting, privatization of public jobs, shuttering services like mental health clinics in Black and Latino areas, and above all closing 50 public schools and overcrowding other neighborhood schools while paving the way for more privately-run charter schools.

Illness prevented CTU President Karen Lewis from directly challenging Emanuel, and CTU-endorsed Chuy Garcia had no money. But endorsements from prominent Black and Latino Congressmen and from Barack Obama did not give Emanuel a majority in any Black ward, as issues of the 2012 strike and its widespread public support still festered.

—Bob McGuire

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