Weather Updates

Karen Lewis to face opposition in May CTU election

TanySaunders-Wolffe says she will challenge Chicago Teachers UniPresident Karen Lewis union's May election.

Tanya Saunders-Wolffe says she will challenge Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis in the union's May election.

storyidforme: 44913290
tmspicid: 16637296
fileheaderid: 7481709

Updated: March 21, 2013 6:29AM

Karen Lewis, the feisty president of the Chicago Teachers Union who gained a rock star following during the 2012 teachers strike, will face opposition during the CTU elections in May.

A coalition of candidates, including the party that ran the union for decades before Lewis, said Tuesday they seek the leadership posts, criticizing Lewis and other union leaders for failing to combat school closings “in which teachers and staff have had no voice.”

“We did our part. We spent weeks on the street, rallied and gave Lewis all the power she needed,” said Tanya Saunders-Wolffe, potential candidate for union president. “What did we get? Firings, closings, lower pay; her leadership is one without backbone or foresight. It’s time for a change. Our leadership is one that cannot only get headlines but results.”

Running with her are former CTU financial secretary Mark Ochoa for vice president, Kelly McFarlane for recording secretary, and Mary Ellen Sanchez for financial secretary.

The coalition is composed of members of the United Progressive Party that ruled the CTU for more than 40 years, the Proactive Teachers Caucus and independent union members. Lewis, a member of CORE, the Caucus of Rank and File Teachers, was overwhelmingly elected in June 2010, wresting union control from the UPC.

“Popularity didn’t get the job done,” Saunders-Wolffe said. “She won the PR, but Rahm Emanuel won the contract.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.