Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tentative Agreement

Tentative Agreement Averts Strike
By Jim Vail

The Chicago Teachers Union agreed to a tentative contract with the Chicago Board of Education at the midnight hour on Monday before the strike deadline. 

So there was no strike.

The delegates will meet next Wed. Oct. 19th at the Holiday Inn to debate and vote on the contract and the members will then vote later in the schools.

People asked me several times if I thought there would be a strike. I told them it was 50 - 50.

All this hoopla was the work of the CTU. The leadership and its fine team of men and women helped organize a one-day strike April 1st, walk outs, walk ins, contract action committee meetings, picket sign pickups, etc, etc.

So it was the union leadership's call to say yes or no to a deal.

I don't think there was ever great pressure from the teachers to withhold their labor. Many want to teach and don't understand the details which could confuse many - pension pickups, tax increment financing, special ed cuts, too few clinicians and librarians. Heck, why would you ever teach in the first place with this litany of problems?

There were two strike votes in the schools.

Each time over 90 percent voted yes to strike. That's not hard to do during these economic times when the wealthy increase their gains at everyone's elses expense. And they have their bought-off politicians.

There was tremendous pressure on CTU President Karen Lewis and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to avert a strike. 

I would say the CTU sacrificed a lot in this tentative agreement. I haven't looked at the details, but letting future teachers pay the pension pickup is on the road to a divided two-tiered union that will be ineffective in the future (look at the auto unions). How could CTU leader Karen Lewis with a straight face sing "Solidarity Forever" after putting her name on this agreement?

I am a teacher and delegate on the Southwest Side. I met with my teachers during the last 2012 strike and we said no in a vote to ratify the last contract. We were particularly upset with getting two basic or 'developing' ratings that turn into an unsat and you can lose your teachers license. 

Our fearless substitute teacher fighting activist Jan Peczkis gave Second City Teachers his take on the agreement that he is encouraging delegates to say no to.



There is no provision to address the usual passing-over, for rehire as regular teachers, of long-displaced higher-pay teachers, in favor of inexperienced teachers. 

In fact, there is nothing at all for long-displaced older teachers--for example, a higher pay when they serve as substitute teachers.


The rather vague wording is "teachers shall be provided a sufficient time of no teaching time" for paperwork. What exactly constitutes "sufficient time", and who decides what that means?

(Employee Discipline)

Nothing explicitly specifies that substitute teachers have equal protection to regular teachers.

There is no "discipline code" in place that could protect substitute teachers from arbitrary and excessive discipline.

In view of the fact that two negative evaluations can cause the termination of a substitute teacher, there is nothing that specifies how long it takes for the first negative evaluation to expire,and therefore not be cumulative with another negative evaluation.


While on the subject of prep periods, there is nothing that clarifies the fact that substitute teachers are entitled to prep periods.

J​an Peczkis​

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