May 21, 2022


On May 21st, 2020, the 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union cast their votes in a three-way race. Of the 16,690 votes cast, CORE (Caucus of Rank and File Educators) won with 57%, six points more than needed to avoid a runoff. Members First caucus (27%) and the REAL caucus (Respect, Educate, Advocate, Lead 17%) came in second and third, respectively.

“After 12 years in power, CORE won by a narrow margin,, which demonstrates how our union of educators in CTU Local 1 has been deeply divided by the current leadership team,” said REAL’s Presidential candidate Darnell Dowd, who went on to say, “Now it is up to us to hit the refresh button, lead rank-and-file members in each building to protect our members, our profession, and the families and students we serve.”

“Outside forces like COVID, gun violence, and inflation have taken their toll on not just educators but our country and the world as well,” said Joseph McDermott, REAL’s Vice-Presidential candidate. “But it’s the forces inside our union, that we must unify behind and sometimes fight against–issues such as Student-Based Budgeting which starve our schools of veteran teachers and art, sports and foreign language programs, and against bully principals who use the teacher evaluation tool REACH to target our colleagues.”

Maintaining that the new leadership of the CTU must once again become a model of democracy and fairness, Alison Eichhorn, REAL’s candidate for Financial Secretary, stated that “our leadership makes a mockery of honest, open financials. We need to once again open the books and make decisions with members, not for members.”

Noting the extremely low voter turnout, Erika Meza, REAL’s Recording Secretary said. “Local 1 has to thrive by valuing and respecting all educators. We will not be able to attract and retain a high-quality teaching force when new hires will have to work until they are 67 for a full pension.”


The REAL Caucus knows that Union power lies in its collective strength. According to their platform, “It is

through this collective power that we promise to fight for justice – educational, racial, economic, disability,

LGBTQIA +, and the rights and dignity of all marginalized people. The REAL Caucus believes these fights

are not separate from working conditions, our students’ learning conditions, or the needs of our


Learn the principles and goals that make our caucus different.

Meet our officer candidates and follow a link to their biographies.

Sign up to have us visit your school or find out about our upcoming events.

Get answers to all your REAL Caucus CTU questions.


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