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Chicago Teachers Union members begin three-day strike authorization 'petition' as CPS finances and other issues are debated widely...

Chicago Teachers Union delegates and local school Contract Action Teams have been organizing for the latest strike vote, which begins September 21, 2016 in all of Chicago's more than 500 real public schools.More than 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (active duty teachers and others represented in the CTU bargaining unit) begin voting on September 21, 2016, on a second strike authorization vote since the union's contract expired and negotiations extended on July 1, 2015. This time, the voting, which will again take place over three days, is by a petition which the union members are asked to sign "Yes" or "No" in the schools.

[img=9619]Because of state laws which discriminate against the Chicago Teachers Union, the union is required to get a vote of more than 75 percent of its active duty members "Yes" in order to legally strike. Other unions in Illinois are allowed to get an affirmative vote (50 percent) without the penalty against the union for those who refuse to vote. The union has no proposed legislation in Springfield to eliminate the discriminatory laws, which require the 75 percent threshold for a Chicago strike and which also bar negotiations (and contract enforcement) on several issues which all other school unions in Illinois can bargain on.

This is the first time in union history when the secret ballot will not be used in a strike vote. By law, the union has the right to decide on how it will vote on union matters. [Disclosure: This reporter served as a member of the union's Rules-Elections Committee for several years and was part of the committee that outlined the three-day strike vote procedure utilized to authorize the Chicago Teachers Strike of September 2012].

On September 20, 2016, the union issued the following lengthy communication regarding the importance of the strike vote:

George-

We cannot let the mayor and his CPS CEO continue to make terrible cuts to PSRPs, classroom teachers and special education while slashing after school programs, libraries, counselors and school nurses. Our ability to strike is our most powerful weapon to demand justice for ourselves and our students, so it is imperative that you vote "yes" for strike re-authorization this week.

After we went on strike in 2012, the Board of Ed restored contract language regarding class size; left our steps and lanes intact; backed off increasing health care costs; gave us the ability to grieve evaluations and discipline; implemented a short-term disability system (which gave maternity and paternity benefits to our members for the first time); and stepped back from its proposal to eliminate rights for laid off teachers. Again, we must make our power felt to compel the mayor to take our demands seriously.

We sacrifice—and will continue to sacrifice—for our students and classrooms. In addition to this, however, the district has taken pension holidays costing us more than $2 billion; rescinded a 4 percent salary increase in 2012; closed 50 schools in 2013; and mandated three furlough days last year. Enough is enough. We are not asking for exorbitant raises. We are asking that the mayor and his handpicked Board of Ed properly fund our classrooms with the hundreds of millions available via progressive revenue sources such as the city’s TIF surplus, a corporate head tax and/or taxes on LaSalle Street commodities traders.

This week's vote is to reinforce the democratic sentiment your union made last December when members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. We know that the mayor and the governor will attempt to take away our power through their appointed labor relations board. This is a vote to protect our rights and prepare our buildings for a possible strike. If we remain unified, we will have more power to push our elected and appointed officials to treat us with dignity and respect.

This week, vote "yes" to protect your students, your classrooms and your profession.

In solidarity,

Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT

President, Chicago Teachers Union

Voting information

Schools are being asked to complete strike authorization voting by end of day, Wednesday, Sept. 21, if possible. Any schools that do not have 100 percent of staff voting on Wednesday can run the vote on Thursday, Sept. 22, and if necessary, continue to run the vote on Friday, Sept. 23.

Members who are citywide, clinicians or based at network offices may vote at any school or at the Chicago Teachers Union office, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza #400, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The preferred time to vote will be Wednesday, Sept. 21 before school. Members must provide proof of union membership, such as a CTU card or a pay stub showing CTU dues deduction.

Citywide members who received a yellow voting ticket should present that when they vote. Citywide members who did not receive a yellow voting ticket should bring their CTU card or a pay stub showing CTU dues deductions to vote. Chicago Public Schools employees who are new to the CTU bargaining unit will be allowed to vote after completely filling out a union card and submitting the CTU membership form.

Members may also vote at any of the 11 voting drop-off locations below. These are designated spots where delegates will be leaving voting materials. CTU staff will be collecting these materials and members will be able to vote at these locations when providing proof of union membership. The dates and times for these drop-offs are Wednesday Sept. 21, Thursday, Sept. 22 and Friday Sept. 23, from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Look for a CTU-marked car in the school parking lot.

Drop-off Locations and Addresses

Location Address

Simeon 8147 S. Vincennes Ave.

Bogan 3939 W. 79th St.

Taft 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.

Hyde Park 6220 S. Stony Island Ave.

Lane Tech 2501 W. Addison St. (parking lot)

Mather 5835 N. Lincoln Ave.

Juarez 2150 S. Laflin St.

Julian 10330 S. Elizabeth St.

Washington 3535 E. 114th St.

Westinghouse 3223 W. Franklin Blvd.

Chicago Teachers Union South Side of Merchandise Mart,

Wells Street and Chicago River

KAREN LEWIS ALSO ISSUED AN APPEAL TO THE UNION'S MEMBERS...

We cannot let the mayor and his CPS CEO continue to make terrible cuts to PSRPs, classroom teachers and special education while slashing after school programs, libraries, counselors and school nurses. Our ability to strike is our most powerful weapon to demand justice for ourselves and our students, so it is imperative that you vote "yes" for strike re-authorization this week.

After we went on strike in 2012, the Board of Ed restored contract language regarding class size; left our steps and lanes intact; backed off increasing health care costs; gave us the ability to grieve evaluations and discipline; implemented a short-term disability system (which gave maternity and paternity benefits to our members for the first time); and stepped back from its proposal to eliminate rights for laid off teachers. Again, we must make our power felt to compel the mayor to take our demands seriously.

We sacrifice—and will continue to sacrifice—for our students and classrooms. In addition to this, however, the district has taken pension holidays costing us more than $2 billion; rescinded a 4 percent salary increase in 2012; closed 50 schools in 2013; and mandated three furlough days last year. Enough is enough. We are not asking for exorbitant raises. We are asking that the mayor and his handpicked Board of Ed properly fund our classrooms with the hundreds of millions available via progressive revenue sources such as the city’s TIF surplus, a corporate head tax and/or taxes on LaSalle Street commodities traders.

This week's vote is to reinforce the democratic sentiment your union made last December when members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. We know that the mayor and the governor will attempt to take away our power through their appointed labor relations board. This is a vote to protect our rights and prepare our buildings for a possible strike. If we remain unified, we will have more power to push our elected and appointed officials to treat us with dignity and respect.

This week, vote "yes" to protect your students, your classrooms and your profession.

In solidarity,

Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT

President, Chicago Teachers Union



Comments:

September 21, 2016 at 11:44 AM

By: George Cruz

Strike Vote

The CTU will get another strike vote but than what ? Are they going to bungle this years strike like last year ? The strike of 2012 was a disaster for teachers. So many givebacks in regards to quality of life issues at schools , financial compensation set backs by abandoning grieving the loss of 4% raises to not getting paid for the 20% longer day, to the disastrous implementation of reach evaluations . Not to mention ending the strike prematurely that eventually led to the closing of 50 schools. That was the result of the 2012 strike in which Rahm clearly won! Lewis & company must not sell out as what's been done in the past and lay the foundation for a successful contract that guarantees teachers compensation , benefits , pension, job security and evaluations

September 21, 2016 at 8:06 PM

By: bob busch

7%

Friday is the first payday for teachers.Will the board take out seven percent more for pension?

September 21, 2016 at 10:02 PM

By: Edward F Hershey

Only if they want a strike, come that Monday

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