Longtime member and president Karen Lewis of the Chicago Teachers Union—a Goliath of a union in an already strong union city—announced late last week that she will be stepping down from her position amid health concerns. Lewis is moving aside for new leadership, eight years after first being elected as union leader.
She led the union during a particularly splintered time, and went on to lead the CTU on a 10-day strike in September 2012, the first teachers strike in 25 years.
Lewis has a reputation as being a tough negotiator. One of those who sat across the table from Lewis in contract negotiations during her tenure was Jim Franczek, the longtime labor attorney for Chicago Public Schools.
Despite being Lewis’s one-time adversary, Franczek says he has nothing but respect for the outgoing CTU president. He stopped by the Morning Shift to talk about Karen Lewis’s legacy, and the future of the CTU without her at the helm.
GUEST: Jim Franczik, chief labor negotiator for CPS
Ailing Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis Retiring (WBEZ 6/22)
CTU President Karen Lewis Stepping Down From Her Post (Chicago Tribune, 6/22)
Karen Lewis retires from CTU to battle cancer: ‘I’m not giving up this fight’ (Sun Times 6/22)
Chicago Teachers Union Boss Karen Lewis Recovering After Stroke (DNA Info 10/17/17)