CHICAGO TEACHERS UNON NEWS: How the CTU sold out clinicians...

I will be giving the Substance News readers background information and reports on how this CTU leadership has sold clinicians out; leaving us in a vulnerable position at CPS in a series of articles. In this one, I will talk about a recent meeting clinicians (dues paying CTU members!) had with CTU officers and administrators.

On October 13, 2016, I received a text from Jackson Potter wanting to set up a meeting with me and have the officers there to discuss my ‘concerns’ about the recent tentative agreement. I responded to say that they should not only meet with me but also the clinician delegates on what they see as a complete sellout of the CTU officers. This was particularly galling because Maria Moreno, the new Financial Secretary, allowed our workload issue to be dropped from the demands to be pushed that Columbus Day marathon negotiations. Maria was a speech pathologist before assuming the CTU office.

They agreed to come to the Clinician Steering Committee meeting held on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at the union offices. Jackson Potter, Jesse Sharkey, Norine Gukekanst attended the meeting with Karen Lewis and Maria Moreno coming in later. Right before the meeting, I was asked to have them come earlier than planned so that Jesse can leave early (we were going to meet before they arrived to organize our concerns but had to give in to their request). Unbeknownst to them, a few of us met earlier in the week to plan it out so we would be focused in the discussion.

The few takes I got out of the meeting is that we were considered too small of a group to have a strike about our conditions. The fact that we have no workload caps which is the same as teachers’ classroom limits of students or special education teachers’ caseloads is alarming since clinicians have large numbers of students to see both in special education mandated minutes. In the case of nurses, psychologists and social workers, the whole student body is our workload, and we are being asked to go to up to five schools! We were chided by Karen to look at the positives in the contract which is difficult since there is NO PROTECTION for clinicians to be privatized! It was sad to see the CTU officers telling a room full of dues paying CTU members that they do not count and basically gave the Board’s messages to them. Many of the delegates left angry and saddened by the lack of support they felt from the CTU officers.

In another report, I will give more details of the abandonment and an inside look at how the bargaining team was poised to take up our demands -- but right before the last push I was taken off the big bargaining team and clinicians lost their strong voice!

[Susan Hickey is a retired School Social Worker and past member of the CTU Big Bargaining Team].


November 9, 2016 at 9:49 AM

By: Jean Schwab


I hope that some protections can be found for Clinicians and Special Education. These students need more individual help than less.

November 11, 2016 at 8:52 AM

By: Margaret Wilson


I agree with Jean. Case load limits are essential to protect student and staff rights.

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