Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 is officially over, as CTU 'Yes' vote is nearly four to one... CTU members voted in favor of new contract in October 2 voting. Chicago Board of Education must now vote to approve a new budget and the contract at its October 24 meeting

The members of the Chicago Teachers Union, voting in the schools in a referendum held on October 2, 2012, have voted overwhelmingly to ratify the proposed contract that was presented to them following the seven-day strike held in September 2012. The vote, which was counted at the union's offices on October 3, 2012, showed that almost 80 percent of those voting approved the agreement. According to union officials, "There were 20,765 valid ballots submitted — 16,428 for the new agreement and 4,337 against."

By September 15, 2012, the striking teachers and their supporters had rallied every day. On Saturday, September 15, the strikers held a rally at Chicago's Union Park (above) and then marched two miles through the city's West Side to Garfield Park. Throughout the strike, the majority of Chicagoans supported the teachers, as was evident during the march that began shortly after the rally above. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The membership vote on a proposed contract is the final say over such matters, under the Constitution and By-Laws of the CTU. The strike began on September 10, 2012 and the picket lines were suspended by a vote of the House of Delegates on September 18, 2012. The CTU currently has nearly 30,000 active duty and retiree members (full disclosure: this reporter is a CTU retiree member and delegate), but only active duty members are eligible to vote on contracts and strikes.

Teachers and other CTU members have been in their schools and classrooms since September 19, 2012, pending the ratification vote. Under CTU procedures, the complete school-by-school vote is to be published in the union's monthly newspaper.

By the time they voted, the union's regular members had received a printed copy of a 53-page tabloid document including everything in the proposed contract. Information about the contract had also been published on the union's website ( The union's officers also held five citywide meetings in the schools to answer questions about the proposed agreement between September 24 and September 28, 2012. Nearly 1,000 teachers and other bargaining unit members went to the five contract explanation meetings.

The voting on the proposed contract was conducted in each of the schools system's more than 600 real public schools, usually under the union delegate. Union members who work in the CPS central and other offices were eligible to vote at the CTU offices in the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago. The ballot boxes were then collected across the city and brought to the Mart, where the vote totals were compiled by union district supervisors, all rank-and-file teachers and PSRPs working into the night after working in the schools. More than 50 union members and staff took part in the compilations, which lasted late into the night of October 4 (full disclosure II: this reporter is a member of the union's Rules-Elections Committee, which oversaw the work).

Copies of the materials presented to the members are available on the CTU website:

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (above, speaking during the September 15, 2012 Union Park rally) was at the negotiating table against CPS officials for ten months beginning in November 2011, but the union's leaders told crowds during the strike that the Board of Education only began taking the union's positions seriously after the strike began on September 10, 2012, and all Chicago public schools were shut down. Substance photo by Kati Gilson.The following press release was issued by the CTU in the early morning of October 4, 2012. A press conference is expected later in the morning of October 4, 2012, but the time had not be established as of this writing.

NEWS RELEASE. For Immediate Release . October 3, 2012. Media Contact: Stephanie Gadlin (312) 329-6250 (desk


BREAKING NEWS - Teachers, paraprofessionals school clinicians are one step closer to a new contract. The contract language was overwhelming ratified by 79.1 percent of Chicago Teachers Union members who casted valid ballots this past Tuesday. This is the highest approval rating for a contract in the history of the union, according to union officials. There were 20,765 valid ballots submitted—16,428 for the new agreement and 4,337against. Members of the Chicago Board of Education must also vote approve the contract before it becomes effective. CTU members have been without a contract since June 30.

“This shows overwhelming recognition by our members that this contract represents a victory for students, communities and our profession,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “Our members are coming out of this with an even greater appreciation for the continued fight for public education. We thank our parents for standing with their children’s teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians.”


October 4, 2012 at 7:48 PM

By: Anthony Smith

School closings...

My primary concern regarding the contract and future negotiations was, and is, the closing of schools.

I understand that a number of Alderman have moved to set up a more "fair" process and perhaps slow the quick pace of school closings. I'd like to know more about that.

When they can take a good public school and open a charter several blocks away, siphoning off several hundred of the good schools students, and then open another charter nearby, siphoning off another hundred or so more AND then they can turn around and say that the good school does not have the enrollment necessary...

that strikes me as EVIL. The same kind of EVIL we fought off during WWII, the same kind that we see embodied in films like Star Wars or ENRON the smartest guys in the room.

SO, do we have the support necessary to fight this, truly fight this, or is this going to end badly? We have right on our side, but they seem to have an awful lot of MIGHT on their side, and for them, MIGHT makes RIGHT.

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