Lawsuit: CORE Teacher Jackson Potter denied election ballot spot

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Lawsuit: CORE Teacher Jackson Potter denied election ballot spot

Chicago Breaking News Center


Just two days before a scheduled election for a leadership position within the Chicago Teachers Union, a popular candidate has filed a suit claiming the union is wrongly keeping him off the ballot.

Attorneys for teacher Jackson Potter on Monday filed a lawsuit against the union, President Marilyn Stewart and its financial secretary Mark Ochoa. The suit claims that Potter -- a member of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) -- which seeks to run candidates against incumbents in upcoming elections -- says CTU officials are improperly keeping him from running for Wednesday's election or another in May 2010.

Wednesday's election is for functional vice president vacancy for the high school functional group.

The union allegedly told Potter, a member in good standing since the 2002-03 school year, he was ineligible to run for executive office within the union because he took a year off beginning in fall 2007 for a study program at the University of Chicago. Union members on study, travel or sabbatical leave are inactive, but recognized members of the union who still pay union dues, the suit claims. But that didn't stop union members, such as Ochoa from claiming that his leave broke his line of service, which is required for running for office, according to the suit.

Potter's CORE party is opposing Stewart's United Progressive Caucus. The suit claims that political advances by his party, plus opposition between the competing caucuses are likely a reason for the problem.

Potter's suit is asking a judge to keep the union from banning him from the upcoming elections and any other relief decided by the court.

In a statement responding to the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for the union questioned the timing of suit, adding that Potter is himself to blame for not being in the election.

"The CTU Constitution clearly delineates the guidelines and we believe he should follow the rules as all the other members," said the statement from CTU spokeswoman Rosemarie Genova.

"This is nothing more than a publicity stunt and we believe the courts will agree."

--William Lee

 

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