Will taxpayers end up paying teachers for every day they are on strike?
Not a silly a question. In the private sector, striking workers actually give up their pay and they never recover the lost money.
No so with Chicago schools. Every day a strike closes the schools is a day that in many cases must be added to the end of the school year. Or a day-off holiday cancelled. And they get paid for those makeup days.
Nuts you say? It actually happened after the Chicago Teachers Union 2012 strike, when days missed were made up by shortening the winter break, cancelling President's Day and adding days at the end of the school year. (The full expansion is here in a Chicago Sun-Times story.)
This time, thankfully, it could be different. Mayor Lori Lightfoot already has said:
“No. There’s no plan to make up any days,” the mayor told reporters at City Hall. “If you look at the CPS website on contingency plans, there’s zero plan to make up any days that might be lost as a result of a work stoppage. We want to make sure we get a deal done.”
We shall see. As the story points out in more recent charter school strikes, lost days were made up and striking teachers got their money back.
Outrageous? Sure. Just like so much that the CTU does. But here's a more immediate question: Are make-up days and make-up pay on the bargaining table?
CTU President Jesse Sharkey said before the strike that make-up days and pay were not "... our decision. We don’t get to make that decision,” Sharkey told the Sun-Times.
I wonder if all the striking teachers know that every day they're out on strike is another day of lost pay. Is the prospect of make-up pay a factor in why teachers are willing to stay out and drive a harder bargain?
Let's hope that Lightfoot keeps her word.
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