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Chicago Teachers Union Holds Dry Run Strike Poll

By Soyoung Kwak in News on May 12, 2012 7:00PM

CTU President Karen Lewis marches in October's "Take Back Chicago" protests. Photo by Tom Tian
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union voted in a dry run of a possible strike vote, but its results were only partially shared with the public. We've been covering the ongoing battle with the CTU and the Chicago Public Schools system.

There are about 25,000 members of the CTU, but we don't know how many of them participated in the dry run strike vote. Ninety percent of the dry run voters disapprove of the Chicago school board policy, but it is unclear whether 90 percent of all CTU members disapprove or if 90 percent of those who voted disapprove of the measures. This is an important distinction, because in Illinois, a new law means that an organization may strike only when 75 percent of all members vote for a strike.

Is this an impossible threshold to meet? Some think so, and not without cause:

"I think the people who framed this law intended it to be an insurmountable obstacle," said CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey. "And the dynamic that has changed is that (CPS) has presented us with some deeply unpopular proposals. And that has sufficiently motivated the rank and file of the teaching force to the point where we just might be able to get it."

It is difficult to tell whether or not CTU will move forward with an actual strike vote, but the results of the dry run only fuels the ongoing discord between the CTU and the school board.