Field Rep Workload Increased By CTU?

I'm told that CTU is implementing several cost-cutting measures, including increasing the workloads of the field reps from having 40-50 schools each to having 70 schools each.  Saving money's always a good idea, but not everyone agrees with the approach.  "This is not the time to be increasing the amount of schools that they have. New field reps aren't experienced enough and even the experienced reps have got to be going insane.  There are so many problems right now and so many displaced tenured teachers.  There are buildings with no delegates to make sure things are going properly...how can the field reps do the job properly?"   What do you think -- and do you happen to know if this is true about the workload increase?  What else would you like the new CTU to be doing (or not doing anymore)?

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  • The CTU currently has more full time employees working on contract enforcement than at any time during the last 6 years.

    BEFORE...
    13 field reps
    4 coordinators
    ---------------------
    = 17 full time employees working on contract enforcement

    NOW...
    9 field reps
    5 coordinators
    5 organizers
    1 intake/organizer
    ---------------------
    = 20 full time employees working on contract enforcement
    + 5 part time grievance correspondents

    AND IN THE PROCESS OF BEING HIRED...
    Full time grievance lawyer
    Full time HS coordinator

  • The larger issue here is that the previous sound structural system through which grievances were addressed has been dismantled over the last 9 years. Delegates used to be highly active in filing low level grievances with support from the CTU. Over the last decade delegates have been heavily discouraged from participating in these activities while the massive amount of grievance work was centralized at the downtown offices. (This centralization, of course, coincided with the philosophy of top down, paternal, and authoritarian leadership.) Field representatives, now the highest paid employees at the CTU, were forced to handle every single grievance. Delegates, formerly active participants in contract enforcement and other Union matters, became non-participants in the grievance process and in the House of Delegates as member services declined and contract enforcement eroded.

    The current goal is to hire more full time and part time workers for contract enforcement while training rank and file delegates - Union leaders in their own buildings - to organize locally and file low level grievances with support from the CTU. This activation of membership is essential to the success of any Union.

  • I retired only 4 years ago, and as a school delegate I always dealt with low level grievances at the school level with support from the union. The change you are describing has more to do with school delegates overwhelmed with mandates from CPS and asking the union to shoulder more of the burden--which they do-rather than authoritarian top-down management. The field rep staff has been reduced from 13 to 9, but the added staff is not doing to field reps jobs. That has increased to unmanageable proportions. No wonder the rank and file is not getting good service.

  • In reply to jessicasmith:

    First, the previous administration repeatedly warned delegates not to file grievances and advocated that grievances be handled only by field representatives. There are plenty of confirming documents available from past CTU communications and election materials.

    Second, you are incorrect. The added staff is handling contract enforcement and grievances. (What else do field reps do, really?) The result is more staff working on those two issues than at any time over the last 9 years.

    You are entitled to your own opinions in the face of your election loss, but you are not entitled to the fabrication of facts.

  • This is what I have been saying all along. Lweis' faction is good at grabbing headlines, picketing, mouthing off in the press and sounding tough. But they are lousy administrators and will not be able to put a structure together to serve the teachers. Stewart and Lynch did not do it either. At this critical time, our teachers need the support of the union, not an invitiation to anoher protest.

  • I regret that Eileen Camacho voluntarily left the firm. We had some heated disagreement over the years (I truly disliked the UPC), but she knew the contract and defended the teachers. Some of the other field reps. just made stuff up to get off the phone; thanks heavens SOME of them are gone.

  • Can someone please clarify something for me that has nothing to do with this article. I am asking the question here because I know a lot of people read this blog.

    A parent called me concerned about the the fact that her child got a 15 minute "nutrition break" as opposed to a lunch period. She stated that the "nutrition break" caused her child great distress because he is not used to wolfing down his food.

    This is an elementary school. Can someone please explain this one for me. Is this only at one school or system wide.

    L. Sanders RN

  • In reply to lasanders:

    Dear Nurse Sanders:
    Your child

  • I don't know which anonymous CORE coward you are, but you deserve a good smack upside your head.

    I am the delegate at Taft, and Sharon has been a very efficient and conscientous field rep in the three years I have worked with her. It is my experience that she returns phone calls and e-mail messages in a timely manner.

    Further, although I was hesitant to have her at my school during the election season--after viewing her professional, no-union-politics manner at two other schools where I was campaigning against the UPC--I arranged for her to hold a well-attended after-school meeting.

    I should think CORE has enough work to do without resorting to this sort of get-rid-of-our-enemies games.

    Shame on you.

  • Illinois is an "agency shop" state, and you cannot simply choose to withhold union dues. Non-members must pay an agency fee to cover their share of the costs of collective bargaining--and the CTU considers those costs to be 100% of the dues charged to union members.

    Still, there is a SCOTUS decision on the agency fee--and if its provisions are not followed, then there is a possibility of getting the agency fee returned.

    Locate your school's union bulletin board. If there is no agency fee information posted (something that is required by the SCOTUS ruling), then take a picture of it. You have grounds for a lawsuit, and it is possible to get your agency fee refunded.

    Note to self: Make sure MY bulletin board is up-to-date first thing tomorrow.

  • The CTU, CPAA and RTAC must come together to elect an mayor who will listen to our concerns! District 299 bloggers, at the last Board of Education meeting, George Schmidt was cut out of the public broadcast (on channel 21, Comcast Cable) because he made Ron Huberman and CPS look like fools!

  • First Class has always been a complete disaster and failure selected by a non-educators who do not care about teachers, students, and parents.

  • As a CPS Lit teacher, I think I can plainly say this: CORE=Phoney.

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