What did the Chicago Teachers Union NOT get?

A quick reading of the tentative Chicago Teachers Union contract with Chicago Public Schools reveals that teachers got, well, just about everything they demanded.

If they had to make serious concessions on practically anything, I’m sorry, I missed them.

The union scored mightily on fronts that, in effect, protects and increases union membership. By all reasonable measures, union membership should be decreasing instead of increasing in a school district that is suffering a declining enrollment and closing schools.

You can read the entire tentative contract here.

Then there are those items hiding in the weeds:

  • A lot more permitted sick days, raising the cap to 244 days from 40 days. They, of course, can be rolled over, but thankfully can’t be cashed in upon retirement.
  • A three-percent annual cost of living increase.
  • Lengthy and detailed provisions that, among things create  “sanctuary” schools to protect illegal immigrants from “punitive and discriminatory immigration policies.”
  • Tens days of teacher training for how to deal with the appearance of ICE agents at school.
  • Various and sundry increased stipends for this and that.
  • A prohibition against contract nurses; they all must be full-time employes.
  • Shorter work years for selected employees.
  • Creation of a new “Joint Staffing Committee on Staffing Equity” that gives the union equal voice in the allocation of teachers to “highest need” schools. In other words, the school board has given up some of its authority over teacher assignments.
  • Procedures designed to “make evaluation more [sic] fair and to eliminate discriminatory outcomes.” In other words, teacher evaluations will become less stringent.
  • In genuflection to current “gender neutral” ethos, bathrooms will be provided to all union members, striking out the phrase “men and women.”
  • Freezes health insurance premiums for the first three years of the contract and creates minimal increases in the last two years.
  • Creates new full-time positions in certain schools to assist homeless and “in transition” students. I suppose that is a node to the union demand that the school system get into the housing market.

The tentative contract continues to frig parents and students who want to escape the bureaucracy-besotted public schools

Why the sad look? CTU members listen in as CTU President Jesse Sharkey speaks following a CTU House of Delegates meeting at the Chicago Teachers Union Center. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

Why the sad look? CTU members listen in as CTU President Jesse Sharkey speaks following a CTU House of Delegates meeting at the Chicago Teachers Union Center. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

for charter schools. In stronger language, it freezes not just the number of new charter schools, but also the number of new students in existing charter schools. This is the kind of policy-making that should not be in a labor contract because it should be in the hands of a school board that is accountable to the public.

Of course, union leaders will say that they gave up their demand for a 15-percent raise over three years, when they will still get a munificent, unconscionable raise of 16 percent and up (demanding on step and lane increases) over five years. Something that most Chicago taxpayers can only dream about.

I admire Mayor Lori Lightfoot for intending to stand firm against so many of the union’s unreasonable and costly demands. But when the details of this contract come out in the wash, I have to wonder want “firm” means.

Here’s the Chicago Teachers Union version of the tentative contract that, of course, was written to highlight what striking teachers wanted.



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  • What didn't they get? A hand-job and a feel-around.

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