Ballot boxes

Despite a coordinated assault against the Workers’ Rights Amendment by the far right, the amendment passed and the right to organize and bargain collectively is now enshrined in the Illinois Constitution.

That win on Nov. 8, plus victories by all 34 CTU-endorsed candidates, proved our union’s ability to organize, build alliances and get out the vote in every corner of the city. It also provided a valuable structure test for our 2023 campaigns for Brandon Johnson for mayor and for CTU-endorsed city council candidates and rank-and-file members Lori Torres and Mueze Bawany.

The energy for our candidates and our platform at every single polling place — from Chatham, Kenwood, Bronzeville, and Brighton Park to West Garfield Park, Austin, Archer Heights, Humboldt Park and West Ridge — was inspiring. Thanks to all who joined their union siblings in the field on election day.

The CTU endorsed 26 candidates in the Illinois Senate and House, from the south suburbs to Lake County. All of those candidates won. Every candidate the CTU endorsed for the Cook County Board won, as did our candidates for U.S. House and statewide offices. That’s 34 out of 34 victories for the night. Add in the win on the Workers’ Rights Amendment and it was a clean sweep for our union.

“The outcome of this election will have profound and far-reaching impacts on our schools and neighborhoods,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said. “Reactionaries and charlatans like the Illinois Policy Institute, Dan Proft and right-wing billionaire Dick Uhlein will continue to try to tear us down. But on Nov. 8, we once again showed that when we organize around our values and fight back, we win.”

This November election cycle, we fought against the reactionary right and pushed for what voters care about, from women’s rights and treatment not trauma to the Workers Rights Amendment. As a result, our state will continue to be led by a governor who believes we need more funding for education — not less — with strong majorities in the Illinois House and Senate. The Illinois Supreme Court is now secure from a right-wing takeover attempt. And, we have two new progressive members of congress who are allies, Congresswoman (elect) Delia. Ramirez and Congressman (elect) Jonathan Jackson.

“We are a movement of people who believe and organize for the many — and we saw the impact of that movement on Nov. 8 when the #TreatmentNotTrauma initiative overwhelmingly won in the three wards the referendum was on the ballot,” Davis Gates said. “That’s a clear rejection of Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership failures — and a clear embrace of the progressive alternatives to the mayor’s failed agenda.”

Thanks to our work in building for the municipal elections, the CTU’s very own Brandon Johnson will be on the ballot in February. Brandon’s strong progressive values offer the democratic alternative we need to another four years of a mayor who has broken her promises, ignored the needs of ordinary Chicagoans and failed our students and school communities.

“Be clear, our opposition rejects equity and justice. Our opposition believes starving and closing schools is the way forward. Our opposition remains opposed to democracy and is on a last-ditch effort to destroy our city’s first elected school board even before it is elected,” Davis Gates said. “We will not allow that to happen. If our solidarity can keep us alive and safe, it can also power a movement to give all of us — every single resident of Chicago — the justice and equity we were promised and deserve.”