Friday, June 26, 2015

Strike Looming?

Will the CTU Strike is the Question
By Jim Vail

The question everyone should be asking now that negotiations between the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union over a new contract have ended is Strike.

"Is there a possibility of another strike," one reporter asked at the CTU press briefing following the news that negotiations have broken off once again due to charges of bad faith bargaining.

"Well, I mean nothing is off the table," Lewis responded.

Despite the fact that the union says it has been bargaining in good faith, the Board has threatened to terminate 3,000 educators, increase class size, eliminate pension pick up and enforce $200 million in cuts, according to a CTU press release.

However, Lewis told reporters at a press briefing June 25 that simple requests like autonomy for grading, as opposed to the top down directives from the Chicago Public Schools, are opposed by CPS.

Grading, testing, Reach cut scores, paper work - the Board refuses to compromise on any of these issues dear to teachers, Lewis said.

"That costs them not a penny," Lewis said. "We had autonomy over our grading three years ago."

Lewis said CPS agreed to continue the pension pickup.

CTU VP Jesse Sharkey said the Board does not want to compromise at all. 

"We were willing to zero percent increase if the board could guarantee certain things would be better in the schools," he said. 

So will CTU strike? Perhaps it's up to the members to decide is the fight worth it. That could begin in the fall if CTU asks the delegates to conduct strike votes in the schools to see if the ultimate bargaining chip is used.

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