Chicago Teachers Union Inc.: How the clout-heavy labor group spends its money

Lauren Fitzpatrick & Nader Issa:

Some CTU members have grumbled on Facebook about how their dues — a flat $55.85 per pay period — are being spent directly on political candidates. For example, the union put $215,000 into Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s failed campaign for mayor. The CTU also shifted $56,000 from its budget to the CTU-PAC.

“Can someone please post, again, the way to opt-out of your union dues going to support political candidates?” one teacher wrote on the “Members First” Facebook page of CTU members who have been pushing for more accountability on union spending. The group unsuccessfully ran a slate against the current teachers union leadership.

“That is on the minds of many members who are frustrated with the lack of transparency and accountability in political spending,” another member responded to the Facebook post. “Opting out of PAC voluntary contributions is an option, and sends a message and hopefully brings about change.”

Asked about the union’s political activities, Jennifer Johnson, the CTU’s chief of staff, says the CTU’s work is “inherently political.” But she notes that members can decide whether their dues go to the union’s PACs.

Related: WEAC: $1.57M for four State Senators.