Chicago Teachers Union ‘Breached Its Duty’ With Political Spending, Complaint Alleges

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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Teachers filed an ethics complaint Thursday against the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) over their campaign spending ahead of the mayoral election.

Hancock High School teacher Froylan Jimenez, along with two other teachers, alleged in a complaint to the the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board that the union “breached its duty of fair representation to its members” by donating money to the mayoral campaign of Brandon Johnson, a former public school teacher and CTU organizer. On March 8, approximately 70% of CTU representatives voted to donate $8 of each member’s monthly dues until June to support Johnson’s campaign, despite its handbook noting that union dues are not to be spent on “political purposes.” (RELATED: Not A Single Student Is Proficient In Reading Or Math At 55 Chicago Schools: REPORT)

“We became public school educators to do one thing: improve the lives of Chicago’s students,” Jimenez said according to The Wall Street Journal.

The CTU, from January 2022 to March 15, 2023, has given more than $2.3 million to the Johnson campaign, the Illinois Policy Institute reported. Ahead of CTU representatives’ vote, members alleged that the union had donated $415,000 of its funds to give to its political action committee without consulting its delegates.

Johnson’s campaign has raised a total of $11.1 million, with almost 91% of Johnson’s funds coming from unions, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. More than $4.5 million of Johnson’s funds come from CTU, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), the parent affiliates of CTU.

CTU and its affiliates provide 65% of the donations and more than $2.3 million of Johnson’s campaign funds have come from other unions.

Johnson has continued to be on CTU’s payroll for the last five years as a “legislative coordinator,” being paid in total more than $390,000, while he simultaneously served as Cook County Board Commissioner.

“Despite being expressly promised that membership dues would not be used for political purposes, political financial contribution reports recently filed to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board by political action committees reveal that the Chicago Teachers Union membership dues are and have used as either loans or direct contributions to political campaigns,” the complaint stated. “Whether classified as loans or direct contributions, these contributions have diverted membership dues away from representing the needs of members and were instead directed towards political activities.”

Members First Chicago, the group of teachers that filed the complaint and the CTU did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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