04/16/2013 02:32 pm ET

Chicago Teachers Union Political Activity Hones In On Ousting Rahm And Shaking Up School Board


The Chicago Teachers Union has said Mayor Rahm Emanuel is destroying their jobs in the wake of a massive proposed closing, so now the union is gunning for his.

Tuesday, the union announced a plan to ramp up political activity for the purpose of ousting Emanuel from the mayor's office, though the plans don't stop with the mayor: The CTU has also vowed to shake up the mayoral-appointed school board and "change the face" of City Hall and the Illinois General Assembly.

“If the mayor and his hand-picked corporate school board will not listen to us, we must find those who will,” said CTU President Karen Lewis according to WBEZ.

Among the plans to leave a bigger political footprint, the union says it'll target 100,000 new voters with a massive voter registration push, host political education forums and trainings for potential candidates for mayor, City Council and statewide offices, ramp up donations to its Political Action Committee and launch canvassing efforts in neighborhoods affected by school closures to get voters to the polls.

In addition to targeting Emanuel, the Tribune reports the union is on the lookout for candidates to replace aldermen and state lawmakers who "have failed to listen to the voices of thousands of parents, educators, students, school employees and activists."

The mayor has had a fractious relationship with the union, even before the September strike over contract negotiations. Emanuel, who has a sizable reelection war chest well ahead of the 2015 mayoral election, has said he is “100 percent hand-in-glove” with the 54 proposed school closings.

In response to the union's announcement, an Emanuel spokeswoman told the Sun-Times via email, "This is simply not the time for politics.”

According to the Tribune, when Lewis was asked if she would consider running for mayor, she "quickly and loudly" said, "No. Thank you," adding, "Not yet."


Chicago School Closings
Chicago School Closings