Sunday, October 11, 2015

Latest Contract Proposals

Report from the Bargaining Table
By Jim Vail

The Chicago Teachers Union leadership and the delegates appear ready to lead the next major city teachers strike when it was announced to be ready for a 'practice' strike vote at the next delegates meeting.

Financial secretary Kristine Mayle stated at this past week's House of Delegates meeting that the union needs to get 75% of all teachers to vote in favor of a strike. That means CTU members who are sick or did not vote will count as a no vote. The union made sure everyone in the buildings voted to authorize an impressive over 90% strike vote in 2012.

"We need to be well organized in our buildings," CTU VP Jesse Sharkey told the delegates. "We need to show the parents that well-funded schools is important."

Chicago Public Schools chief Forrest Claypool is threatening to lay off 5,000 teachers because of budget problems if the teachers do not make significant concessions. The union contends that the board is 'broke on purpose' by refusing to renegotiate toxic bank loans, stop issuing wasteful multi-millionaire dollar no-bid contracts or tax the wealthy.

According to Contract Bulletin #7 issued at the HOD meeting, bargaining between CTU and the Chicago Board of Education has been ongoing since Nov. 2014, but "little progress" has been made.

The Board's latest proposal is for a three-year contract with no more step or lane changes based on years of service and advanced degrees. No pay raise for the first two years, but a 1.5% raise the third year.

It also proposes that teachers pay 2% more into the pension the first and second year and 3% the third year, resulting in a 3 year 5.5% pay cut over the proposed three-year contract.

In addition the Board is seeking $50 million in cuts and premium increases to health care in year one, but no details on years two and three.

In terms of workplace rights, the Board has proposed to eliminate high school department chairs and replace them with teaching assistant principals (thus increasing bureaucracy), remove ability to appeal teacher evaluation ratings, eliminate ability to mediate or arbitrate employee discipline and even ban CTU field reps from the schools, delete minimum staffing provisions, such as the minimum number of teacher assistants and cadre substitutes which would could eliminate a lot of those positions, and add 8 two-hour meetings after school.  

That last one really raised my blood level - cut our salary over 5% over three years, but demand we work longer hours, with more administrators looking on, replacing teachers working with the students.

It appears both sides are digging in their trenches before an all-out war begins once again.

Stay tuned!

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