CTU President: Enraged Mayor Swore, ‘Disrespected’ Her During Private Talk

CHICAGO (CBS) — The festering sore between City Hall and the Chicago Teachers Union burst open into a nasty wound Friday as the CTU president accused Mayor Emanuel of getting in her face and yelling at her during a recent meeting to discuss longer school days.

Karen Lewis says Emanuel, who has been pushing for extended class time, pointed his finger in her face, shouted and used profanity. The claims surfaced as the CTU filed an unfair labor practice lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools system, which has convinced teachers at five schools to break ranks and vote for a longer school day.

Lewis says Emanuel went off on her when she suggested his plan would merely “warehouse” students longer to keep them out of trouble.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“He got up and started screaming at me,” Lewis told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman Friday. “It was extremely disrespectful. Let me just say my father has never spoken to me that way, my husband doesn’t speak to me that way. I’ve never, ever been disrespected like that.”

She declined to elaborate about what kind of salty language Emanuel used. The former congressman and White House chief of staff was once well known for expletive-laden tirades.

Emanuel said he would not get into a “he-said, she-said” debate in the media about what transpired during his hour-long meeting with Lewis. He said he and Lewis talked about extending the school day and compensating teachers and that the two parted ways amicably.

“We had a very good conversation, which was the basis of the proposal,” the mayor said. “To tell you the truth, she hugged me at the end of the meeting.”

Lewis agreed the meeting ended on a friendly note.

“I was trying to move forward,” she said.

CPS announced Friday that another school, William H. Brown Elementary, 54 N. Hermitage Ave., will extend classes. Seventy percent of teachers OK’d the move, the school system announced.

“Teachers at Brown today are embracing a longer day as a means to help close these gaps and boost their students’ academic success in the classroom,” Emanuel said in a joint statement with school officials Friday. “We hope that more parents, teachers and principals will continue to discuss how a longer day can help schools make the most of every school day.”

Lewis, the CTU president, has said officials are trying to implement longer school days without proper planning.

  • billyd

    I’m guessing that it was the one who did the assaulting. Probably Rahm got between it and a chicken wing, and chaos resulted.

    What a disgusting pig it is.

  • sean

    to bab he didnt do that to daley when he was leaving,could of asked him where all the money went so he could fix things.rahm you are a thug.

  • Student Advocate

    You have to give Emanuel credit for literally taking on the beast that is the CPS.

  • B McCarty

    From Lewis’ own description, sounds like she threw the first mud at the Mayor, accusing him of not being interested in education. Emanuel justmgave it back to her. Man up, Karen!

  • retiredinAZ1

    The UNION has no back bone! Can you imagine the reaction if the Mayor would have spoken that way to Robery Healy? Come on Lewis! Stand up to ‘ol Rahm before he destroys not only the union but the entire public school system! Teachers….my advice….look to transfer to the suburban schools before the union calls for a strike vote!

    • OLD VET


  • Roberta Waker

    Poor baby; a lawsuit will make things better, won’t they? It’s a case of He said – She said and I would think the truth is probably in the middle somewhere. I would be willing to bet there are a lot of students that use worse language and are more intimidating than the Mayor. Next time take an unbiased witness with you to the meeting.

  • Tom Smith

    What part of “Private Talk” did this fat pig not understand? It’s not very private now.

  • goteach

    Bad boy bettle juice is at it again. You voters asked for him

  • Roberta Waker

    The teachers union is out of control; now they are suing to stop the longer school days voted in by FIVE schools thus far. Who is paying for this lawsuit – the taxpayers? Since the internet program using teachers from India is working so well in some Chicago schools; it should definitely be expanded ASAP. Our children are getting a better education and the teachers are available 24/7 – a great program and it’s cheaper too.

  • more better

    The headline jumped out at me. Is this woman an educator? “Disrespected”!?
    That’s CPS for you!

  • 2xbogey

    The CPS will always have a PR problem with this woman as there spokeswoman.

    • Vocie of Truth

      totally agree !!! She is the female counterpart to Sam Adam Jr. The CPS should be outrged and embarassed to have Ms Lewis as their spokesperson.

  • Go Teach Them Already

    GO RAHM !! It is about time someone stood up to these people. This woman doesnt care about the education our children receive. It’s evident everytime she opens her mouth. She works for the union.

  • righttrack

    She claims her husband doesn’t talk to her like that – maybe he’s scared of what she’d do to him, considering her size. Good for Rahm – he stood up to this beast and let her know how it was. He wasn’t scared of her – even though she outweighs him by a good 100 pounds.

    • Voice of Truth

      it is not about her appearanc it is about her arrogance, big mouth, and “all union” mentality. How do you respond to CPC having the shortes school day and year? Please tell us Karen your rebuttal

  • da chicago way

    hold on a second ,the city of chicago has a zero tolerance policy for violence in the work place which includes cursing and making intimating gestures at someone she should of called 911 right on the spot! rahm is a thug just like all chicago politicians,wakeup sheep!

  • Philip Wayne

    The head of the teacher’s union is not without quilt when it comes to disrespect. I have heard unacceptable comments out of her mouth on several occasions. Disrespect is not only cuss words, but knowing that people have limits and then you push the buttons. I am not letting Emmanuel off the hook…it takes two for these things to happen.

  • Tom Smith

    Why would you defend this worthless piece of garbage? Rahm did the right thing…

  • Philip Wayne

    I am all for the teachers, but unfortunately, in the CPS, excellent teachers are the exception. Unlike most people, teachers, get the Summer off and a liberal holiday schedule, which means they receive a year’s salary for a reduced work schedule. The excuse that they bring their work home with them is unacceptable in today’s work environment. Most people bring home work, in addition to working long hours. Our children deserve better teachers, held accountable for poor performance. The extended school day and all year school need to be implemented immediately. No exceptions.

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