Why the Chicago Teachers Union demands are outrageous

You don't have to do a detailed statistical analysis of the Chicago Teachers Union costly demands are outrageous. But if you want more detailed information, turn to the analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute.

Before we begin, the union response will be that the Institute is just a right-wing, anti-tax, anti-union outfit that should stick its nose elsewhere. Typical response; argumentum ad hominem, Instead, let's dive into the substance and facts:

1. The real victims are the students. Seventy-six percent of the Chicago School's 360,000 students are low income. Chicago public school students already lag in educational achievement. A walkout will only make it worse.

2. The school system cannot afford the CTU’s demands. They would cost more than $1.1 billion over three years, more

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

than $800 million more than the generous offer that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has on the table. With junk bond credit rating, a huge debt and hundreds of millions of dollars that must go into teacher pensions, the demands simply cannot be met. 

3. Neither can Chicago taxpayers. Since 2010, property taxes on the typical Chicago home have outpaced home appreciation by 188 percent.  During former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s term, Chicagoans suffered $864 million in annual tax increases through property taxes, water and sewer fees, and the 911 surcharge. When is enough enough?

4. CTU has weaponized strikes and strike threats against Chicagoans. Between 1969 and 1987, CTU struck at least seven times and most recently in 2012. In 2016, the union walked out on the students for a day and although the strike was possibly illegal, the union punished teachers who chose to work.

5. A generous 16 percent pay raise and a mere 1 percent  increase in health insurance premiums over five years wasn't good enough. Never mind that the offer was made by a neutral fact finder chosen by CPS and CTU and that Lightfoot offered to match it. Instead, CTU is demanding salary increases of 15 percent over the next three years, along with reduced health insurance premiums.

6. Teachers are already well-compensated. They have the highest average salary among school districts in 10 of the nation’s top 13 largest cities (comparable data were not available for three of the cities) when adjusted for cost of living.

Those are the analysis' highlights. For more facts and analysis go to the Institute's website and "CTU demands are an insult to the average Chicago taxpayer."

Even the liberal Chicago Sun-Times editorial board urged the teachers to accept what it called the "sweet deal that most Chicagoans would just love to get."

As it said:

What employee, in any job, would turn down a 16% raise over five years?

That’s a locked-in raise every year of 3% to 3.5%, more than what most workers are getting — if they’re getting raises at all.

Then add in the pay hikes to which teachers would be entitled based on seniority and level of education. With those “step” and “lane” raises, the average teacher would pull in almost $100,000 a year — up from about $79,000 now — by the end of the five-year contract.

Yet, the teachers refused, authorizing the strike by 94 percent of those voting.

Oh,  CTU President Jesse Sharkey says the strike is about more than money. We're doing it for the kids, is the line the union always trots out in order to justify its greed. Let's see at the end of negotiations if the union gives up any of its money demands in favor of more nurses, class size and the rest. It never does. 



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    Illinois being one of the few neighboring states that allows teachers to strike, doing so is a slam dunk for CTU. If the teachers walk out parents will be up in arms demanding it be settled. They will put the blame on the mayor and the school board. The merchants (especially Michigan Ave.) will demand a settlement to get the kids off the streets and out of their stores. The media will also join in saying the strike is hurting the kids and the city needs to give in. The ones who have no power in this but lose the most are the taxpayers.


  • At least we can agree that the Illinois Policy Institute is "just a right-wing, anti-tax, anti-union outfit." Most of their points are political rhetoric, such as "CTU has weaponized strikes and strike threats." But some, such as the claim that Chicago taxpayers cannot afford to give teachers a raise, can be tested. In fact, Chicago taxpayers pay lower property taxes than residents of anywhere else in the metropolitan Illinois area, not just in Cook County.

  • In reply to jnorto:


  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    This cite is one you will love:

  • I hope these chimps go on strike and sit out the year. THE STATE IS BROKE! The CTU is nothing more than a street gang.

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