WTF... CPS — CPS covering up cost of Scab Centers while penalizing strikers in first paycheck... '...Depending on your deduction choices, you may in fact have a zero or a negative payroll advice...' Strikers' paychecks lower than expected as CPS shows it continues its scab ways

Hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Chicago Teachers Union members discovered that their October 5 paychecks were even lower than they had anticipated as a result of the strike received yet another lesson in how the Chicago Public Schools administration has no intention of trying to work cooperatively with the Chicago Teachers Union following the seven-day September strike that became a symbol of the new working class resistance to much of the world. CPS officials, who have in fact gutted most of the main services departments at the system's central offices (claiming they were "reducing bureaucracy") distributed a memo to the union's members on October 5 explaining what they were doing and whom to call. But dozens of teachers and others who tried to call learned, again, that no one is "home" when CPS is expected to answer the phone.

The Chicago Teachers Union immediately responded to the attack by reminding teachers and others facing unanticipated financial problems that the United Credit Union was prepared to make immediate loans to those who needed such. The union leadership had been advising union members for a year that they should begin saving through the credit union (which was once the "Union Teachers Credit Union").

The memo that strikers received with their paychecks on October 5 reads as follows. Note that the strange memo refers to the CPS workers as "CTU employees", but that's just one of the looming problems teachers are likely to face now that the strike is over.

UNDATED MEMO (Issued October 5, 2012):

Dear CTU Employee:

As a result of the CTU strike, which occurred between September 10 and September 18, 2012, your earnings scheduled to be paid on the October 5, 2012 pay check will only include pay for September 19, 20 and 21. All days that you did not work during this pay period due to the CTU strike, will be reflected on your pay check under the earning code WSA – Work Stoppage Absence.

Because of the reduced number of paid days and the required number of deductions, your net pay will be significantly less than a regular payroll period. Depending on your deduction choices, you may in fact have a zero or a negative payroll advice.

Benefit Days

No benefit time may be used for the dates affected by the CTU strike. Therefore, CTU employees that were on a leave of absence during this period will not receive benefit pay for the strike days.

Deferred Earnings

No deferred earnings will be paid for the strike period.

Voluntary/Involuntary Deductions

In order to remain in compliance with all Federal and State regulations, your pay check dated October 5, 2012, will be subject to all applicable payroll withholdings as well as all voluntary and involuntary deductions in place at the end of the pay period, including benefit contributions such as health, dental, life insurance and 403b contributions.

If your earnings during this pay period are not enough to cover your voluntary deductions, the uncollected amounts will be deducted from your next scheduled pay check.

If you have any questions please feel free to call Payroll Services at 773/553-4729.

Sincerely, Payroll Services

On Friday, October 5, 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union issued an email memo to all of its members:

CTU Members’ Pay Temporarily Deferred, Pay to Be Made Up

CTU members who took part in this year’s inspiring strike will pay a temporary penalty this week, as their paychecks will be significantly smaller and may even be reduced to no pay for the current pay period. However, as members know, the new CPS calendar disrupts student and educator plans for the year in order to make up all the extra days that Mayor Emanuel vowed to pile on in extending the school year. CTU members will eventually receive their entire yearly salary. This week, however, they will continue their sacrifice in defense of quality public education, as they draw from the savings they set aside in preparation for the strike.

Those CTU members who find CPS’ payroll policy has thrown them into temporary financial turmoil are eligible to receive personal loans on an expedited basis from the United Credit Union. Those who already have accounts with the Credit Union may immediately apply for a personal loan of up to $6,000 at a reasonable interest rate. For CTU members who establish new accounts the Credit Union will waive their customary thirty-day waiting period prior to accepting loan applications. CTU members can receive financial relief within as few as two business days. Please call 773-376-6000 or stop by any of their member service centers for more information.

One of the many things that CPS is unlikely to make public is the amount it wasted during the seven-day strike by paying huge numbers of school-based and central administrative workers to staff what union strikers called the "Scab Centers" during the strike. Ultimately, CPS kept open more than 150 schools across the city during the strike, claiming that children would starve if CPS wasn't feeding them and providing them with "non instructional activities."

But it turned out that when the strikers' picket lines were consolidated on the second day of the strike at the Scab Centers, there were usually more children on the picket lines supporting the strike than inside the buildings getting fed and "activitied" (as some strikers began referring to what was taking place). In most of the Scab Centers, there were more adults in the buildings than children. This was because CPS, as part of its strike breaking planning, had signed contracts with the three largest unions representing other workers of CPS: Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73; Unite HERE Local 1; and the Operating Engineers. All of the unions that crossed the CTU picket lines during the strike had been warned by CPS officials that their work would be further privatized if they refused to sign what amounted to the "yellow dog" contracts during July and August 2012. Non-union administrative, technical and clerical CPS workers also were forced to work during the strike, most of them being dispersed across the city to the Scab Centers. Principals and Assistant Principals, as management, were also forced to work.

The quickie planning by CPS for the staffing of the Scab Centers led to potentially dangerous and sometimes droll situations. Although CPS principals were forced to be in charge of the Scab Centers, central planning was so confused that in some places the principals wound up with little or no authority over those who were told to report to their schools. In more than one case, the Scab Center had 100 to 150 adults being paid to be inside the buildings, while fewer than 50 children were also inside during the school day.

"What we really needed was activities for the scabs," one principal who asked to remain anonymous told Substance. "They were a good example of 'Idle hands are the devil's workshop.'"

CPS has also failed to inform the public about the cost of the food that was dispatched to the Scab Centers during the seven days of the strike. Most of it was reportedly wasted.

Combined with the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPS administration acted up to the beginning of the strike as if the entire vast disruption of the nation's third largest city were simply something else to subject to public relations spin. In some cases, the spin cycle worked because Chicago's major corporate media have been crippled by cutbacks and corporate "downsizing," resulting in most outlets having too few reporters and researchers to cover such a vast and complex story. Even as it became clear that the strike was massively successful from Howard St. on the north to 135th St. on the south — and with downtown or community rallies of thousands every day — Chicago's corporate media continued to quote the distortions of CPS and city officials as if they had some credibility.


October 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM

By: Bob Busch

'Strike' — my ass. Calendar mess was Board's idea.

This quote is from a Board memo which came out yesterday. "Due to the strike, the end dates of each quarter had to be adjusted, which moved the end of the 3rd Quarter until after Spring Break. Spring Break was moved to the week of March 25 to ensure sufficient instructional time between Spring Break and the end of the 3rd quarter."

That is a bald faced lie. The reason the dates were changed was to maintain the scam of placing spring break the week before Easter. Those who know CPS history will remember that Spring break was always the third week of April. It began to bounce around to avoid the "problem" of Good Friday. The NFG's who wrote the original calender finally realized that would make it a school day so they used the strike as an excuse to cover their ass and make it part of the Spring break. Instead of a potential religious holiday.

Just blame it on the teachers' strike again.

October 7, 2012 at 10:06 AM

By: Anthony Smith

Freedom Of Information Act & TAXPAYER DOLLARS$

Perhaps if Substance were to request a Freedom Of Information Act regarding the money used during the strike by the Board of Education we might find that they did waste a lot of taxpayers money.

If they can refer to us as CTU employees we should respond in kind by reminding everyone that what Rahm and the Board are spending is

TAXPAYER DOLLARS. Let's see how much they have wasted.

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