Chicago Teachers Union, progressives form new Chicago coalition

Jul 28, 2014 by

Look out Chicago, a new political movement has arrived.

United Working Families, a partnership between labor groups, including the Chicago Teachers Union, and a coalition of a dozen community groups is expected to announce its formal launch on Monday, executive director Kristen Crowell tells Early & Often.

Crowell is the same woman who headed an effort to counter policies by Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, raising $50 million along the way.

“This organization collectively will represent well over 100,000-plus members in a diverse range of communities in Chicago,” Crowell said of the Chicago group.

Crowell previously served as executive director of We Are Wisconsin, which grew out of protests in 2011 and eventually cultivated its battle into a full-blown recall election against Walker.

Walker ultimately defeated the recall. But We Are Wisconsin raised $50 million that poured into a super PAC. Crowell is credited with influencing state races and galvanizing a field campaign that had members knocking on 3.5 million doors.

“I think there is a real moment right now for change. When it comes to issues, what we’re seeing are two different Chicagos,” Crowell said. “We are really concerned about the growing inequities facing our neighborhoods.”

The group says it isn’t anti-Rahm Emanuel per se, but it certainly is working to give people an alternative to his policies. It is no doubt closely monitoring a possible mayoral run by CTU president Karen Lewis, who has informally launched an exploratory committee.

Another key partner in United Working Families is Grassroots Illinois Action. That group’s executive director, Amisha Patel, has said it is tapping into voter discontent across Chicago. It also is focusing not only on policies coming out of the mayor’s office but pushing for aldermen who won’t rubber-stamp his policies.

via Chicago Teachers Union, progressives form new Chicago coalition | Early & Often.

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