Strike Notice Reactions

Today’s news is mostly about various reactions to the news that CTU has filed notice of its intention to strike — which means it could call a strike as soon as September 10.  WBEZ highlights that the notice is part of a negotiating strategy, not necessarily a desire to actually do it.  Teachers, parents, CPS officials all weigh in on what they think about the possibility. The Sun Times editorial page worries about the impact on public support for education. What’s your reaction to this turn of events and the possibility of a strike?  What do you think your neighbors’ reactions will be?

If CPS teachers strike, public education could be undermined Chicago Sun-Times (opinion): Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), holds a press conference to discuss the next course of action in contract talks with the Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times. storyidforme: …

Chicago parents fret: What to do if teachers go on strike? Sun Times:  On Wednesday, parents of Chicago Public Schools students learned that the Chicago Teachers Union had filed a 10-day strike notice. That left moms and dads, already frustrated and bewildered, uncertain about what to do with their children if the teachers go on strike. “It’s going tobe a madhouse scramble” to find child care, one parent said.

Parents, activists discuss potential strike Catalyst: The teachers union, which announced they were filing a 10-day strike notice Wednesday afternoon, has made a concerted effort to forge ties with community groups. But it is unclear how the threat of a strike or an actual strike, should it happen, would be received generally among parents.

Chicago schools CEO says strike will hurt students AP: Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard says a teacher strike would only hurt students. Brizard said the school district will be prepared to provide services to students in the event of a strike.

Chicago Teachers Union’s notice could allow strike in 10 days Sun Times: Chicago’s first teacher walkout in 25 years could erupt as early as the fifth day of school — Sept. 10 — under a 10-day notice of intent to strike filed Wednesday by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. Armed with that notice, the union’s House of Delegates meets Thursday to discuss setting a possible strike date, propelled by a “strong sentiment’’ to “set the earliest possible” date, one union source said.

Chicago Teachers Give Notice of Possible Deadline for Strike New York Times: As parents here prepare to send their children back to school next week, the union representingChicago Public Schools teachers gave a 10-day notice on Wednesday of its intent to strike, the next legal step in a series of maneuvers amid …

Chicago teachers move closer to walkout Chicago Tribune: Contract negotiations between the union and Chicago Public Schools will continue through the week and likely the weekend, meaning a strike still could be averted. “I want to make clear that we will remain at the (negotiating) table until a deal gets done,” CTU …

Teachers union files strike notice to keep contract talks moving WBEZ: Public school teachers in Chicago could walk off the job during the second week of school.That’s because the Chicago Teachers Union has officially filed a 10-day strike notice with the Illinois Labor Relations Board.The 10-day strike notice does not necessarily mean teachers will go on strike.

Chicago Police officer and boy, 15, shot in ‘gun battle’ on South Side Sun Times:  A Chicago Police officer and a 15-year-old boy shot each other Wednesday night on the Far South Side, police said. The 35-year-old officer was shot near his knee and the teen in his leg and side in the 1300 block of 112th Place, officials said.


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  • This is getting ridiculous. When this is over Brizard, Winckler, Carroll and the rest of the wild bunch at CPS have to go! Donn, accused me yesterday of "masking" the issue by focusing on individuals. You know what? It is about individuals. My children attend CPS, it is about them. It is about me and most of my social circle who are educators and have committed years to this system. This is about us, not these folks at 125 S Clark that use us and Chicago's children as a stepping stone to something else after 2 years. This is about the children that don't have a parent who stays at home because they are working, which a strike will greatly impact their lives because the folks at the negotiating table can't act like adults.

    Maybe if ANYONE on the CPS cabinet (check my fact, not one!) had a child in CPS they would work a little harder to get a deal done. It is these individuals that have gotten us to this frantic place. Winckler has stalled all year, mostly because she is incompetent and doesn't know what to do, outside counsel has no incentive to settle because they get to charge millions of dollars more as this drags on (where is the IG on this one?). Carroll and her man crush, the Mayor, have stoked the rhetoric all year long while BRIZARD has been asleep at the switch. He has NEVER attended a negotiation (he admitted it yesterday on (WBEZ)), mostly because he is busy meeting 17,000 teachers (that is around 85 teachers a day every school day he has been in office). What a crock! Brizard is the worst kind of politician, straight up empty suit with a propensity for lying. The Mayor's office minions, which I understand are 20 year olds with no real work experience, are lurking in the shadows. Oh, and the fiscal crisis we are in was largely set up by the decisions David Vitale made when he was Chief Administrative Officer. These are the individuals that are the real issue. They are the source of the real problems we face today.

    The whole lot should be fired and forced out of education. They have shown they can not be responsible for 406,000 children. We are stuck with the Mayor for three more years, but at least we can pressure him to change out this gang. It is time for individuals with real leadership who are committed to Chicago to come in and run CPS.

  • In reply to westofwestern:

    Great points WoW! I find it increasingly troubling that no one making decisions at CPS has any stake in the outcome. I work at 125 S Clark and I can tell you no one on the leadership team of "educators" has any ties to CPS other than their paycheck. Almost all are not even from Chicago, so they likely have no family connected to CPS either Where is the vested interest in working on our behalf? They get to screw up our city and move on. Check it out:

    Rahm: kids attend Lab School, doubtful any extended family attend CPS
    The Board: no kids in CPS
    Brizzard: from New York, no family in CPS
    Bird Bennett: from Cleveland, no family in CPS
    Boik, from Detroit, no family in CPS
    Culley, doesn't even live in Chicago NOW, no family in CPS
    Winkler, no family in CPS
    Carroll, no family in CPS
    Sicat, from Boston, no family in CPS
    Gehring, from Kansas City, no family in CPS
    Cheatham, from San Diego, no family in CPS

  • In reply to Jamie:

    I believe that Sierra on the board has two kids at Inter-American Magnet School

  • In reply to Riceandbeans:

    I guess that counts for something. But, even if true, 1 out of 17 (including board) doesn't seem like enough to me.

  • In reply to Jamie:

    Board - Vitale kid in CPS currently
    Board - Pritzker family member graduated from CPS recently
    Sierra - kids in CPS

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Great 2/17 (Vitale/Sierra), recently graduated kids won't be affected by strike. My view still stands. I agree with M Wesoloskie..time for elected board. Board and leadership team should both have a stake in the outcome.

  • In reply to Jamie:

    Vitale not graduated

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Board - Vitale kid in CPS currently
    Board - Pritzker family member graduated from CPS recently
    Sierra - kids in CPS
    Which schools? That would be key information.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    I understand that CPS Parent. I am not counting Pritzker, since she no longer has a stake in CPS. Only Vitale (school unknown) and Sierra (2 kids at Inter American Magnet). Hence 2 of 17 (9 cabinets, 7 board, 1 little mayor).

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Andrea Zopp's kids graduated from the agricultural high school, one a year or two ago.

  • In reply to Cleo:

    Still 2 of 17. The past doesn't count.

  • In reply to Cleo:

    Nice that they seem to be accessing schools with higher performing students for their children. Good for them!

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    In reply to westofwestern:

    It's time for an elected school board. It's a check and balance against a tyrannical mayor. Then as voters we can put responsible middle class parents with kids who are in a CPS school on the board to run it.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Ahem... so parents from other income levels aren't welcome or are you being sarcastic? Should there have been "neighborhood" in front of "school"?

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    In reply to CPS Parent:

    Touche...good point. What I was trying to be sarcastic about is turning control of our schools over to rich people that have abcolutely no grounding in what middles class and low income families have to go through to try to give their kids a quality education. For example, my wife and I struggle to try to decide if we are going to save more for my 4 year old's college or if we should spend money on private school's in her younger years. Rich people like those on the BOE don't have to make that choice and that is reflecting in the "choices" they are making for our schools.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Hmm... not so sure if being just "like me" trumps other qualifications. The capacity for empathy or sympathy doesn't have to come from direct experience but maybe Vitale's does. He grew up dirt poor, first to go to college on a full ride, etc.. Knows CPS from the inside from when he was CAO for $1 per year (he turned down the salary). Knows finance professionally. Runs a community development banks in the poor neighborhoods of Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit - from the Wiki - "The bank’s focus is to build vibrant urban neighborhoods and promote economic and environmental sustainability in distressed and underserved areas of Chicago" and has a student in CPS.

    I thought and still think he is the perfect CPS Board President. I'd vote for him in a jiffy if it were to become an elected position.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Definitely not voting for Vitale. That $1 salary isn't noble here. He set up the current fiscal crisis by kicking the can down the road when he was our "free" CAO. I think he is a smart guy, works hard and has a great story. But, as a CAO he failed to plan for the future and as board chair he has shown zero ability to empathize or even talk to the community in a respectful manner.

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    In reply to CPS Parent: are educating me about thing I didn;t know. I have an open mind. I don't want to through out the baby with the bath water...but in an elected school board he sounds like he would/should be about the other board memebers. Let's not let a mayor pick them...let the citizens of Chicago pick them.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Well, we do pick (or un-pick, four years later) our mayors full well knowing that they will select a board.

    My fear is that the special interest groups which have national backing will overpower the other candidates which should be at the table. I'm thinking of the "reform" and anti union entities which have unlimited access to campaign funds. In addition the voters who actually vote in local Chicago elections a predominant slice are older homeowners (without CPS students) who will vote purely on the property tax issue which some candidates will promise not to raise for CPS. In Chicago the very opposite of what is desirable may easily be the result of an elected board. Now is not the time to gamble and hope for the best I think.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    I completely agree. Low-turnout municipal elections are a recipe for special-interest capture. We need the strong hand of a mayor, accountable in a general election.

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    In reply to CPS Parent:

    That's well thought out and explained - you've given me something to think about.

    However we vote for President every 4 years and he/she does not in turn appoint a congress - we elect them too.

    That same "reformers" that might be able to dupe the public can also dupe a mayor (if he/she is not already in their camp/pocket book already.) So in your line of reasoning, the line of people the reformers would have to dupe get cut to 1 instead of 2,700,000 Chicago citizens.

    And yes, if those of us with Children sit back and don;t vote - then shame on us and we get what we deserve.

  • A lot of things are likely to happen prior to any strike. The most important of which are tonight's meeting of the House of Delegates and last minute bargaining directly involving Mayor Emanuel. Since the Mayor effectively has complete hiring and firing ability over the CPS administration if he orders money to be made available to pay for a salary increase it will happen and it will happen regardless of the consequences. Mr. Cawley no doubt already has millions of dollars in various program funds targeted for reallocation at a moment's notice.

    But as the CTU has made public there are other issues that will not be solved just by writing a check. These issues relate to what CPS considers now to be their managerial authority under state law based on SB7. But as those who have read the law know, it is a power that can be shared if the CPS wants to allow it to happen. Effectively CPS wants to have the type of power the Houston Independent School District has over its teachers, which is absolute. The Houston school district does consult with the Houston Federation of Teachers, but by law they have no contract and any consideration given to the union is just that an nonbinding deal.

    Right now in Colorado the Douglas County School Board is considering asking voters to end its collective bargaining agreement with the teachers union and permanently break other ties between district and union. "Instead of paying the high-dollar salaries of the union executives and a host of other union expenses, we ought to be focusing on restoring our focus on the classroom, both financially and pedagogically," board member Craig Richardson said. "I suggest that we consider at the next meeting ballot language that would prohibit the district from ever funding with taxpayer dollars union salaries and public pension benefits going forward." Richardson called the current collective bargaining system "old fashioned" and said it leads to an unending, yearly conversation with the union concerning money. (The Denver Post 08/22/2012) Does Mr. Richardson's tone sound familiar?

    There is more at stake here than just money for teachers. Because of the stakes involved it was particularly stupid for SEIU local 73 and other CPS employee unions to cut deals out of coordination with the CTU. As Ben Franklin said "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." While the leaders of these other unions may keep their dues flowing in for now, eventually the CPS will cut their throats and break them if the CTU is fully defeated, but apparently they could only see what was immediately in front of them and side stepped this fight. The CTU's back is against the wall, it is being forced to fight for its life. This is exactly why I was so opposed to SB7, it has created this situation and led us down the path to where we are today.

    Rod Estvan

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    In reply to Rodestvan:

    I think Rahm wants a strike. He is a top notch spin doctor and wants to "use" a strike in his long term plan to break the union. Even if Rahm has the "plan" in his head of how to sompromise - he won;t do it until Chicago parents and students "hurt a little." He wants them to feel the pain of a strike and spin it to the public as to why they should back him in his union busting efforts.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    I hope you are wrong, because if you are right we are in for a very ugly situation that might not end fast. Let's hope Mayor Emanuel will make a deal, let the union maintain most of its current contract and still declare a victory because there will be a longer school day. Hopefully, he is watching the RNC every night and realizes he really does not want to be part of that camp.

    Rod Estvan

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    In reply to Rodestvan:

    I pray that I am I've said before in other posts my wife is a CPS teacher...we live paycheck to paycheck...I'm not complaining...I'm saying that my own family will I have skin in the game.

    I'm sure every strike is emotional and says it is striking for its very survival - but somehow I feel this time it is true - especially given SB7....SB7 v 2.0 will come down the aisle in the not so distant future. The privatizing carpet baggers will not stop.

    I think the mayor is flipping a coin RIGHT a hero now but take a chance he will look "weak" - or be a hero later after everyone is hurting from the strike and have more political capital to use later....I fear it is going to be the later.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Emmanuel absolutely does not want a strike. Nor does he want even the mildest threat of one. Too late! Over the past year, much of Emmanuel’s actions were based entirely upon the delusion that teachers, under SB7, would be unable.

  • The Chicago Board of Education has proposed the following management rights clause for the new contract (Agreement): Employer Authority- The Board shall not be required to bargain collectively over matters of inherent managerial policy as defined by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act or the Illinois School Code, including, but not limited to, the following areas of discretion: (a) the functions of the Board; (b) the Board's overall budget; (c) the Board's organizational struture, including the creation, modification or elimination of departments, divisions, offices, sections and positions and the allocation or reallocation of the work to be performed therein; (d) decisions to eliminate work or relocate, subcontract, contract out or transfer work to a third party for one or more services otherwise performed by bargaining unit employees and the procedures for obtaining such contract or the identity of the third party; (e) decisions regarding the implementation of new technologies and methods of operation and decisions concerning the use of technology to deliver educational programs and services and staffing to provide the technology; (f) the retention of consultants, specialists and other skilled professionals on a contract or project basis; (g) the size and composition of the work force; (h) the selection, examination and classification of new employees and the establishment of hiring standards; (i) the hiring, evaluation, transfer, promotion, demotion, layoff or reduction-in-force, reappointment or recall, discipline and discharge of employees; (j) the educational or training programs provided to employees; (k) the direction and scheduling of employees; (l) the assignment of work to employees whether on a straight-time or overtime basis; (m) production and quality standards, standards of service and performance expectations of employees; (n) the development and implementation of rules, regulations, policies and procedures governing employee conduct, job performance and other conditions of employment; (o) decisions to determine class size, class staffing and assignment, class schedules, the academic calendar, the length of the work and school day, the length of the work and school year, hours and places of instruction or pupil assessment policies; and (p) decisions concerning the use and staffing of experimental or pilot programs.

  • Retired Principal, does anybody get how HUGE this is? This gives them all control to vacate anything else. WTF??

    btw, how come the media keeps saying the first strike in 25 years? I'm sure I remember a strike in the 90s.

  • In reply to Cleo:

    Dear Cleo, only the people in the loop know how big this is! Mayor Rahm Emanuel could not get this added in Springfield, so now he is trying to get it added in the contract (Agreement).

  • Headache 299
    Page 9 of the Bargaining Update – August 22, 2012 can be found at

  • CPS Children First proposal is awful. Can't they come up with anything better than babysitting in the event of a strike?

  • In reply to Southside:

    No--the CPS CF proposal is unsatisfactory according to all four domains of the Danielson Rubric. CPS needs CTU teachers to have a distinguished school day for Chicago's children.

  • YouTube: CTU Strikes: 1969-1987

  • What's the youngest someone can be and draw a pension from the CPS?

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    In reply to district299reader:

    There are different ages I think, I know it is 55 if you started working in the late 80's or early 90's. If you were hired later, I think it is 60. I left in June at 55 - took a big hit in pension, but seeing how things are going, I am glad I did it then instead of waiting around.

  • Katie Hogan, Founding Teacher at Social Justice HS, speaks at Town Hall in Chicago

  • Delegates voted, the date is set.... Is this whats best for all vested parties?

  • In reply to Ed4who:

    No one wants this, but Brizard failed so massively to make progress in negotiations. He has been totally disrespectful to teachers since day one. He didn't even have the decency to come to negotiations. Not one time! They have met, by his estimate 40+ times, and he didn't show up even once! The union was given no other choice. How do you cut a deal with staff?

    Regardless of the Mayor's intention here, the district is the one negotiating. Brizard is numero uno at CPS, he gets paid $250k, has a driver to chauffeur him around like an early nineties Saddam Hussein and is comped seats at all the best events. Heh, I would like to throw out the first pitch at the Sox once.

    I hear all the jokes about Brizard being a front. Frankly, the puppet jokes don't work for me. Puppets don't get paychecks!

    Now, Brizard gets to own this. First, major urban district strike in years. Congrats buddy. We knew he was bad in Rochester, clearly he wasn't cut out for the job. If Rahm is really running things, come out from behind the tall black man with the cheshire smile and own this debacle. Save us the $300k+ we pay Brizard (including bennies) to smile like an idiot by firing him and let's get a deal done. Don't worry, Karen doesn't bite.

  • In reply to Southside:

    I was there when he threw out the first pitch. So lame! His pitching style is just like his leadership, awkward and short sided. Not even close to the plate. I have seen 6 year-olds with more skills than him.

  • In reply to Maestro:

    Well stated!

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    In reply to Southside:

    Awesome post. The chesire smile...the exact analogy I've been searching for...

  • I just got an email from JCB with a link to CPS's contingency plan "Children First"
    Second sentence reads, "Irregardless of CTU strike notice, all schools will be open on Tuesday, September 4th and all students should be in the classroom on that date."
    I'm guessing they didn't have a scab teacher available to proofread it.

  • You can draw pension at age 55

  • 165 Chicago Public Schools have been chosen to "babysit" (non-instructional services) students once the strike starts from 8 am to 12 pm to the tune of $25 million. Can anyone name some of these 165 schools? P.S.- The CTU didn't start this fight, but the CTU will end this fight!

  • Dear RP,
    I love reading what you post. It's full of insight. I read the "Children First" posting on the CPS website:
    They will cap teacher to supervisor ratio 1:25, something we, the teachers, don't have, nor will we get if CPS gets their contract.
    They will also try to choose facilities with air conditioning, which is needed for "babysitting", but not learning!
    Oh, if only they put that much effort or thought into the students, teachers, and schools!
    From the CPS website:
    Keep approximately 145 school sites open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    Sites are selected based on the size and location of the building, with preference given to those with strong leadership, air conditioning, a gym and cafeteria, computer labs and proximity to public transportation.
    While instruction will not be provided, students will participate in positive activities to keep them engaged, including independent reading and writing, arts and journaling, sports activities, computer-based programming, among others.
    Elementary and high school students would attend separate designated facilities to address their unique needs.
    Staffing open sites with Central Office staff and other non-CTU employees as well as organizations who will be invited to submit a request for proposals (RFP) to help staff schools and provide programming.
    Staff-to-student ratio would be capped at 1 to 25.
    Providing daily nutrition services to all students attending a site, including breakfast and lunch.
    Partnering with City Sister Agencies to provide additional options for families and children such as:
    Extending 70-80 Chicago Park District summer camps, and providing students with online learning opportunities at 79 Chicago Public Libraries.
    Working with the Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Police and Fire Departments to ensure safety and provide additional services.

  • In reply to displacedteach:

    Dear displacedteach, thank you very much!

  • Isn't it funny that air conditioning is important for the baby sitting but not for school time! Most problems occur after 12:30. Why aren't they open after 12:30? CPS is a joke full of clowns.

  • In reply to Grandma:

    That does sound bad, but is actually practical. Planning for 600+buildings worth of people to be in 145 buildings requires AC.

    They should be open the "full day" for babysitting. Parents will be more frustrated with the strike if they also need to arrange childcare.

  • I still think there will be no strike.But if there is look out Chicago.
    only the best students and gang bangers will go to these
    scab schools.If we do go my old but will be on a picket line

  • Rahm Emanuel’s Father Specialized in Terrorist Bus Bombings In Palestine’s-father-specialized-in-bus-bombings-in-palestine/

  • The Strike... an inconvenience to the board but a major challenge to families. I am saddened that a strike result is the only way to have teacher/student/parent voices heard. It is my sincere hope that the parents of cps students understand our reasoning and our decision. We have negotiated in the best interests of ourselves and our students. We will be vilified in the press as to this being about only our own self-interests and it is our job to set the record straight. Already I have been contacted by parents who question the 25 to 1 ratio in the contingency plan... "how come you can't have that now?" they ask. The anti-union rhetoric will surge but I am listening to my parents who have a vested stake in public education and they aren't buying it. If the board is counting on an uninvolved parent voice they are mistaken. They enter the buildings and the classrooms and see the truth of an underfunded and ill run system.

  • I ask again, why does the media keep saying the last strike was in '87. I am certain there was a strike in the 90s, just can't recall the exact year. Anybody?

  • In reply to Cleo:

    There was a work stoppage...88 or 89? Because the board did not have enough money to pay teachers to open school. There was neither strike nor stoppage in the 90's.

  • In reply to Cleo:

    From the first wave of reform in the 1980s until mayoral control was established in 1995, the state legislature provided for a School Finance Authority of CPS that required the Board to present a balanced budget before the school year could begin.

    In 1993 CPS was unable to do that, and the SFA would not allow the schools to open. There was no strike; CTU had a contract. School started one week later after the Board made enough cuts to present a balanced budget. (I don't know what happened in the elementary schools, but in HS we reduced the school day one period--resulting in layoffs of about a thousand teachers--and lost study halls and 7X and 10X classes.)

  • Is it possible that the West Side Network CAI, CIO (MNO whatever) doesn't reside in the city? She has a residence listed in Homer Glen. Hmmmm....does she send her child to CPS?

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