Chicago Teachers Union wins arbitration on behalf of displaced teachers

The Chicago Teachers Union held a press conference on March 25, 2010, announcing a victory in a grievance filed more than a year ago on behalf of reassigned teachers. The press conference on March 25, 2010, was scheduled at the same time (1:00 p.m.) that attorneys were appearing in federal court in the case of 'Lynch v. Huberman,' which was also a major teacher rights case. As a result of the conflict, Substance was unable to cover the CTU press conference and is reporting the CTU story below based on

The CTU press release follows:

CTU Wins Major Ruling to Protect Both Rights of Teachers and Education of Students

“A great victory for both teachers and their students” says CTU President Marilyn Stewart

Chicago— In a major victory for the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), an independent arbitrator recently upheld the Union’s grievance against the Chicago Board of Education on the matter of displaced teachers and their eligibility for placement from the reassigned teacher pool. This victory not only addresses the problems that some CPS teachers have faced over the last several months; it also makes clear that the Board must follow the contact in future treatment of any similarly displaced teachers.

The 51-page binding judgment, handed down by impartial arbitrator Peter R. Meyers last week, concerns hundreds of fully licensed, highly experienced, veteran Chicago teachers who had lost their jobs because of pupil enrollment declines, school closings, consolidations, and turnarounds.

The teachers were placed on a list known as the “reassigned teacher pool,” and were supposed to have been appointed to teaching positions immediately as they opened up throughout the CPS system. Instead, Meyers found, CPS deliberately “aged” the appointments for 60 days, keeping the teachers in the reassigned teacher pool, while students were given daily substitute teachers and lost the continuity of a regular classroom teacher.

Meyers ordered the administration to “immediately cease and desist from imposing any ‘aging’ or waiting period to the process of filling vacancies” from the reassigned teacher pool. He ruled further that within the next 90 days both sides in the dispute review the records of teachers victimized in the process to identify the “actual (financial) harm,” done to any of them. Meyers said that at the conclusion of the 90 days, he will rule on “individual remedies” for such teachers.

“This is a great victory, not only for the hundreds of teachers directly involved, but it also protects all 27,000 of Chicago’s public school teachers who could possibly one day find themselves in a similar situation as budget cuts and consolidations force the closings of schools,” said CTU President Marilyn Stewart who took the case to arbitration. “At the same time, said Stewart at a CTU press conference announcing the decision, “it ensures that the learning process is not disrupted for thousands of our students.”

In ruling that the 60-day “aging” of the vacancy-filling process was a violation of the union’s contract, Meyer’s pointed out that the reason CPS claimed it was doing it was to ensure that the position which had to be filled in each school “truly is vacant.”

“That administration argument was utter nonsense,” said Stewart. “The real reason was pure patronage. The CPS administration was doing the principals a favor by giving them a 60-day gift of time to fill those positions with their friends and relatives. She noted further that under the current rules, principals already had flexibility in their hiring since appointments from the reassigned teacher pool are considered interim for 60 days, during which time a principal can dismiss a teacher without showing just cause.

“The administration also thought it could save money by having the principals hire young, less expensive teachers from outside the reassigned teacher pool list instead of the highly experienced veteran teachers that are on the list,” said Stewart. “Now, it’s going to cost CPS even more money because they may have to provide back pay to those of our teachers who were financially hurt in the process.”

Stewart noted that under the regulations, teachers can remain in the reassignment pool, at their current salaries, for only 10 months. At that point, if they have not been appointed to a school, they become “cadre” substitute teachers at much less pay. She estimated that hundreds of highly credentialed, experienced teachers had either retired early or were put in that “cadre” as a result of the Board’s contract-busting, 60-day “aging” process. “Now that we won this most important ruling, we will be working to make those teachers whole,” she said.

In discussing the educational value of the CTU’s position in the arbitration, Meyers pointed out that “considering the interests of the students. . .every advantage is associated with filling teaching vacancies as soon as possible.” While noting the good job done by daily substitute teachers, he said “there can be no dispute that there is far more consistency associated with the more lengthy assignment of a teacher from the reassigned teacher pool.” Such teachers, he said, will have the qualifications and certifications required to fill these vacancies,” noting “this may not be always true for a substitute teacher, however skilled and qualified. . .” Having the same teacher every day, concluded Meyers, “enhances the entire educational process.”


March 26, 2010 at 7:02 AM

By: Garth Liebhaber


This is a prime example of Marilyn now bringing in some victories for election time. We have heard numerous reports that the standard UPC response to "Marilyn, I'm displaced, can you help me?" to be, "Well, spruce up your resume!"

The sad thing is that too many teachers are apathetically uninformed. If Stewart wins reelection, it will be largely for this reason. Along with cheating, as we've seen in the past with vote counts.

March 26, 2010 at 8:01 AM

By: Danny

Jumping in at the last minute?

This is an important victory, and I don't with to minimize it, but...

My understanding is that some of the displaced teachers (Antoinette Barnes of DARTS and Chris Rudzinski, among others) did all the work--with very little help from the Union until after the case was accepted for arbitration.

Perhaps those involved will speak up and let us know just how much help Marilyn Stewart's administration really provided.

March 26, 2010 at 8:54 AM

By: kugler

more to the story than meets the eye

I am interviewing the teachers that forced the ctu to take this case. there is more to this story than the union is telling. it is a victory for the teachers and members to fight against a corrupt union and management that work together to fired teachers.

I should have the story by Monday.

stay tuned.

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