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CTU contract with Chicago Public Schools expires... Board continues demanding massive givebacks, while both sides agree to negotiate under terms of the old contract

The five-year contract between the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education expired at midnight on June 30, 2012, with both sides apparently agreeing to continue negotiations under the terms of the agreement, which ran from 2007 through June 30, 2012. Although fact finding is still taking place (a report from the fact finder is scheduled to be released on July 16), since the fact finding only deals with pay and benefits and the union has been asking for a great many things beyond those — including reduced class sizes and a guarantee of a full curriculum in every school — the fact finding is likely to be nothing of substance in the present situation.

The expiration of the Chicago Teachers Union contract with Chicago Public Schools on June 30, 2012 brings the union and the Board of Education one step closer to the first strike of public school workers in Chicago since 1987. The 1987 strike (above) lasted 19 days when a previous mayor (Harold Washington) and a previous schools chief (then "Superintendent" Manford Byrd) refused to negotiate seriously and tried to take away most of the rights that had been won by teachers during the 20 years of collective bargaining and written contracts that preceded 1987. Above, then CTU President Jacqueline Vaughn speaks to striking teachers and other school workers at one of the 24 picket lines across Chicago in the middle of the 1987 strike. Throughout the summer of 1987, Mrs. Vaughn told the public and union members that she was hopeful that the union would gain a serious contract without a strike, but when the Board of Education (and the mayor and superintendent) remained stubborn and continued repeating the lie that they had "no money", the teachers struck on the opening day of school. Because of the militant solidarity of the teachers and other union workers at that time, the Board was unable to open even one school and allowed scabs to cross picket lines at the system's 23 district offices and at the Central Office, which was then located at 1819 W. Pershing Road.No mention of the expiration was provided over the June 29 weekend by the CPS Office of Communications, which routinely refuses to provide Substance with information about CPS policies, operations, and events.

In a June 29 Press Release, the CTU stated the following.

NEWS RELEASE. For Immediate Release Contact: Stephanie Gadlin. June 29, 2012 312-329-6250

CONTRACT EXPIRES FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATORS AS NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE WITH BOARD

CHICAGO - On June 30, 2012 the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)/Board of Education 2007 - 2012 collective bargaining agreement will expire for the districts more than 25,000 educators. Without a new contract in place, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) may impose a number of changes to the school calendar, class size, holiday schedule, work schedules and school personnel. The Board has the ability to remove holidays from our current schedule.

"It is our responsibility to work toward a contract that is fair and equitable to our members and one that will help us give our students the high-quality, first-class education they deserve," said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. "While there has been progress in some areas, we remain far apart on many others." A fact-finder will release recommendations on many of the economic issues on July 16, 2012. Both sides will have 15 days to accept or reject the recommendations. Should both sides accept the fact-finding report will become part of the new contract.

Despite the absence of a new collective bargaining agreement, as of July 1, 2012 CTU members still retain specific rights. These rights include, but are not limited to:

* Wages - The wages paid to CTU members at the levels currently described in the Appendix A cannot be reduced-regardless of the length of school day.

* Health Insurance - Members retain the same basic coverage at the same rates described in Appendix B of the contract.

* Pension Pick-Up - The board will continue to pay the employer contribution for educators' pensions.

* Sick Days - Sick day banks remain intact and will continue to accrue. The Union is currently negotiation over payouts of unused sick days, and this will be determined when the contract is settled. However, the PEP program expires at the end of the contract and will not continue unless it is included in the final contract settlement.

* Grievances - Teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians still have the right to file and process grievances.

* Summer School - All of the terms in the current contract should continue without any change.

* Leaves of Absence - All of the terms in the current contract will remain.

* Vacation - No change, however, the Board has already announced its intent to eliminate Columbus and Pulaski days from the current schedule.

* Whistleblowing — CTU's right to monitor and police CPS activity has remained unchanged.

There have been critical changes in state law regarding evaluation and teacher practice begin this school year. Please reference www.ctunet.com/evaluation for detailed information on the Performance Evaluation Reform Act or the new REACH system being imposed by CPS.

CTU has been in contract negotiations with the Board since November 2011.

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information visit CTU's website at www.ctunet.com.

SG:oteg-743-tr



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