Dear CTU Family:

What a (yester) DAY! Shouts out to *our* team of bold leaders. Thank you for organizing and leading the best election day operation ever!

This year’s general election was high-stakes for our union. Workers’ rights, legislative champions, and supportive constitutional officers were all on the ballot, and the outcomes of those races have real impacts on our schools and neighborhoods. Make no mistake, reactionary groups and charlatans like the Illinois Policy Institute will continue to try to tear us down. But fighting back has clear benefits: we win.

On Tuesday, our movement represented our values and might in every corner of our great city. Our rank and file members, member leaders and staff held down entire precincts with United Working Families members, volunteers, fellows, leaders and lawmakers. The RED (CTU), BLUE (UWF) and PURPLE (SEIU) rainbow at each site was something to see. We’ve been building for these moments for years, and to see it yesterday was truly inspiring.

This election day 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 deeply moving.

We’ve spent the last three years organizing to survive a pandemic that’s killed over a million people. We deserved yesterday. We deserved the fellowship and love we received from our neighbors. And we’ve earned their respect and admiration. The photos of us out in the sunshine with clipboards and campaign literature were demonstrations of our commitment to making Chicago and Illinois more just and equitable. Our neighbors recognize — and respect — our commitment and our values.

And, with an overwhelming majority of precincts reporting statewide, multiple media outlets have announced that the people of Illinois have approved the Workers’ Rights Amendment, guaranteeing every Illinois citizen their fundamental rights to organize their workplace and bargain collectively with their coworkers for better pay and safe workplaces.

We are workers and residents. We are educators and parents. Our neighbors from all over this city are grateful for our leadership and love. Please don’t allow pundits, political operatives, Twitter trolls and Covid-deniers to shake our confidence.

Fellow members, we are people who believe and organize for the many! The #TreatmentNotTrauma initiative to offer holistic mental health support to our neighbors overwhelmingly won in the three wards the referendum was on the ballot. That’s a clear rejection of Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership failures — and a clear embrace of alternatives to the mayor’s failed agenda.

Our state will continue to be led by a Governor that believes we need more funding for education — not less. This is the first general election with our two new legislative leaders — Speaker Welch and Senate President Harmon — and we have helped them maintain strong majorities in the House and Senate. The Illinois Supreme Court is secure. And, we have two new progressive congresspeople that we call friends: Congresswoman (elect) Delia. Ramirez and Congressman (elect) Jonathan Jackson.

What we won together is truly inspiring: The CTU endorsed 26 candidates in the State Senate and State House, from the South Suburbs to Lake County. Former Englewood History Teacher and CTU member Laura Faver Dias will represent Lake County in Springfield. Every candidate the CTU endorsed for the Cook County Board won, as did our candidates for US House and statewide offices. That’s 34 out of 34 victories for the night.

Onward and upward to the fifth floor!

Thanks to our movement, Brandon will be on the ballot along with Lori and Mueze — and we must build up the human and financial resources we need to win. We need every volunteer and every single contribution — with donations to our CTU PAC and directly to our union siblings Brandon, Lori and Mueze — because the opposition will be fierce.

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.

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.

Our solidarity keeps us safe. Our solidarity fuels our people-powered movement. Our solidarity is our superpower. Thank you CTU!

With love and solidarity,

Stacy Davis Gates, CTU President
Jackson Potter, CTU Vice President
Christel Williams-Hayes, Recording Secretary
Maria Moreno, Financial Secretary