Monday, May 25, 2015

Sub Rights

Non-tenure and Sub Teacher Rights!
By Jan Peczkis

Veteran teacher and sub Jan Peczkis.
I am a displaced CPS teacher and current CPS sub. I would like to be a member of the CTU, but cannot afford the dues. I would like to see CTU dues pro-rated to $5/day per actual day subbed. Thus, the dues per pay period would range from zero to $50. To avoid losing the support of subs who don't want to be members of the CTU in any case, subs should retain the option of non-membership.

I have been told that this takes a CTU Constitutional Amendment for this to happen, and that the first step is to get a petition going. Please send me the paperwork so that I can get started.

Proposed Rights of Displaced Teachers in the New Contract (2015-2019?)

17-Year CPS Teaching Veteran - Older, “Unemployable” Displaced Teacher


I am a 60 year-old displaced teacher, who had taught as an FTB, in the same position, with an excellent rating, from 1997 to 2006. In or about 2003, I was made into a PAT, and then was displaced in 2006 when the funding ran out for my discretionary science position. Since then, I have been a substitute teacher, unable to be hired for a regular CPS teaching position because “I make too much.” 


The old FTB (Full-Time Basis) system made sense for up to a year of work to fill-in for an absent teacher, and no more. Instead, the FTB became a means for CPS to get around granting tenure. The FTBs effectively became a permanent underclass of tenure-less teachers, with tenure granted only at the whim of the principal, and then with total disregard for excellent teaching and years of service.

Worse yet, the contract of about 2003, while thankfully abolishing the FTB, did not, as should have, grandfathered years-experienced FTBs into tenure. Instead, the FTBs had to “start all over” as PATs, deprived not only of tenure but also stripped of all previous seniority. This was grossly unfair, and to this day I cannot imagine how the CTU agreed to such an arrangement. What’s the point of having a union if something like this is allowed to happen, and, worse yet, is allowed to stand?

Common-sense unionism dictates that any layoffs deemed necessary should have been conducted according to reverse seniority. The utter disregard for seniority rights in the contract of about 2003, correctly or incorrectly blamed on Deborah Lynch, was unconscionable. The passage of time does not make this injustice go away. While the clock cannot be turned back to a previous contract, the situation has for years cried for effective remediation, and the ensuing contract should finally correct this situation.

A labor attorney whom I consulted told me of what he called a stinking Supreme Court decision that allows employers to pass over higher-paid candidates in favor of lower-paid ones. This allows employers to discriminate against older workers, specifically displaced older teacher such as myself. Because CPS is “off the hook” legally, it is all the more reason that the CTU should finally and aggressively remediate this gross injustice through collective bargaining. 

CTU policies should not create a rift between tenured and untenured teachers, or between old and young teachers. For this reason, I simultaneously include a proposal, below, for upholding younger teachers. 

Proposed Remedy 1: Bestowing of Confiscated Tenure

All displaced teachers that are former FTBs, with four or more years of 
uninterrupted CPS full-time teaching, and with an excellent or superior rating, as of 2003, should automatically be granted tenure at the start of the 2015-1019 contract.

Furthermore, these newly-tenured teachers should be treated identically to all the other displaced tenured teachers in the Teacher Pool.

Furthermore, CPS should be required to rehire all these so-defined displaced tenured teachers before it hires any non-tenured or new teachers.

Furthermore, the status of tenure should be permanent status for displaced teachers, and not be something that disappears with time. Nor should there be any such thing as “Honorable Terminations” for such tenured teachers that are not rehired in a short time.

Alternatively, the “50% rule” for CPS hiring of tenured teachers should be 
extended to ALL so-defined tenured teachers, and not only tenured teachers displaced in the most recent year. 

All seniority that existed up to the point of displacement should likewise be 

Proposed Remedy 2: Pay Cuts By Long-Displaced Teachers

We are in an employer’s market—very much so. CPS has no incentive to hire older, higher-paid teachers, and probably never will.  I would rather be employed at $40,000 a year than unemployed at $60,000 a year or perpetually underemployed (as a substitute teacher) at $18,000 a year. For this reason, older displaced teachers (say, displaced more than 5 years ago) should be allowed to take a pay cut in order to make them once again employable with CPS as regular teachers.   

I have been told that, were displaced older teachers allowed to take a pay cut, it would depress the pay scales. If true, I fail to see why a current high-paid teacher, who has had the fortune of not being displaced, should now make even more money while I, and other good teachers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, are and remain perpetually unemployable as regular teachers with CPS. 

Proposed Remedy 3: “Super Substitutes” 

All currently-recognized displaced tenured teachers, and displaced teachers that are former FTBs (again, with four or more years of uninterrupted CPS full-time teaching, and with an excellent or superior rating, as of 2003), should be made into “super substitute” teachers that make at least $300/day. (The present system, which makes displaced tenured teachers into cadre substitute teachers, is inadequate, owing to the huge pay differential between regular and substitute teachers.)

Furthermore, CPS should be required to use the services of all these “super substitutes” before it uses any regular substitute teachers. 

Furthermore, and in order to prevent CPS from trying to fire these “super 
substitutes” in order to save money, the rates of firing of “super substitutes” and regular substitutes shall not differ by more than 5%. In addition, substitute teachers, of all sorts, shall be protected from arbitrary termination by CPS through the proposed policies outlined by me in SubRightsPeczkis.doc.

For New Teachers:

The constant turnover of newer teachers is a problem. New teachers should be tenured after only one year of probation, not three or four. In addition, CPS should be allowed to deny tenure to no more than 30% of first-year teachers each school year. This would end the revolving door by preventing CPS from constantly getting rid of about-to-be tenured teachers in favor of still-cheaper, brand-new teachers. This proposal would also alleviate the depressed-wage problem, described earlier, by raising the average wage of the CPS teacher. 

Other Matters:

Substitute teachers are often not paid in a timely matter, and subs have to waste time calling schools to get payroll corrections made. Filing nonpayment grievances with the CTU is cumbersome because it takes months for resolution. 

CPS has no incentive to get payrolls correct because there are no consequences for their omissions. Therefore, I propose that CPS be required to pay a fine of $20, per each day unpaid wage and per delinquent pay period, to the substitute teacher. 

The new contract should strictly abolish all the creative CPS methods for getting rid of teachers. This includes “re-definition” of teacher positions.

CTU dues for substitute teachers should be pro-rated to $5/day of actual 
substitute teaching.

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