The Chicago Teachers Union has abandoned its façade of helping teachers and is now all-in on political advocacy and endorsements.
The union pledged $2 million in union dues paid by teachers to its candidate of choice, Brendan Johnson, a former county commissioner and teacher at Chicago Public Schools.
The union also hosted a “Power at Every Level” conference Thursday to instruct its teacher delegates on “building power.”
“Winning the mayor’s office is, of course, a high priority,” said the CTU press release about the conference. “Everything we do builds on the organizational foundations we forge in our school buildings and communities across the city, and this is what will make our three-pronged strategy of mayoral representation, bargaining strong charter and district contracts, and winning a pro-educator elected school board a reality.”
And if that wasn’t enough, the union is openly insulting not just Johnson’s opponent, Paul Vallas, but anyone who endorses him.
When former CPS CEO and U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, endorsed Vallas, CTU called him Vallas’s “partner-in-crime,” a reference to Vallas receiving support from Chicago’s police union, saying that both men have “failed up.”
“Duncan never had the juice to run for Mayor of this great city,” said the union’s press release.
When prominent businessmen Willie Wilson and Ken Griffin added their endorsement in early March, they received similar treatment.
CTU chastised Griffin for being a “ring-wing Ron DeSantis-loving billionaire” and accused Wilson, who is black, of being “another conservative, who wants to hunt ‘criminals down like rabbits.’”
“While it is no surprise that these two lack the respect and empathy to run our city, it is still deeply offensive to the families who depend on Chicago Public Schools,” said the press release.
Despite being a strong Democrat, former mayor Lori Lightfoot repeatedly butted heads with the teachers’ union, claiming its decision-making harmed thousands of students.
“Anybody who believes this teachers’ union is merely a union hasn’t been paying attention,” Lightfoot said in January of 2022. “They believe themselves to be a political movement or political party and that is the lens through which we have to view every one of their actions.”
CTU will find out how much power it really has when the runoff election between Vallas and Johnson is held on April 4.