No Strike Year for New Contract
By Jim Vail
Word was already out that the Chicago Teachers Union was near a contract deal before the Chicago Tribune reported this week that a deal is around the corner.
"We are literally this close to hammering out an agreement for a year," CTU President Karen Lewis told the Tribune. "So that's good right?"
The Trib reported no details on the new contract.
CPS did not want to extend the current contract by one year by stating it would save about $100 million due to a 3 percent pay hike.
According to CTU contract bargaining committee members who spoke off the record, the district will offer a one-year contract no raise, but retain steps and lane changes that are effectively yearly raises based on years of experience and degrees.
No details were added about holding health care costs.
It appears a deal to avoid a strike would help the board sort out its stated financial problems.
The CTU leadership made no effort to support a strike at the last House of Delegates meeting in June. In fact, Lewis stated that avoiding a strike would be better.
However, the rhetoric was sharp when CTU complained that CPS was not bargaining in good faith, and the district offered essentially a 7 percent pay cut by asking members to contribute the 7 percent pension payment that CPS current makes.
One delegate stated he did not agree with the union's policy towards negotiating in secrecy.
However, it appears while delegates were in the dark, the bargaining team was not.