Sections:

Report of the CTU’s House of Delegates meeting held on January 9, 2019

The pre-meeting open mike Question and Answer period began on time at 4:15 p.m..

1. A delegate stated that the only productive time at the House meetings were in the pre-meeting Q and A sessions. Much of what is presented to us orally is information in our meeting packets that we can read on our own. Although she expressed appreciation for the work done by the PAC/Leg Committee, she is tired of hearing about politics every meeting. “We don’t need two hours of just speeches” and suggested a change in the format of the meetings. Pres. Jesse Sharkey agreed with some of her points and the CTU will take them under consideration. (Please keep this item in mind as you read the rest of the report).

2. An increase in insurance rates went into effect for active CTU members on January 1, but one delegate said that actual increases were included in the last billing period of 2018. Jesse said that there is confusion in the CPS about insurance rate hikes and the CTU is arguing with CPS over this.

3. REACH, the system the CPS uses to evaluate teachers, is a very formal process but one network told principals are being told to use more informal methods of evaluation. Jesse said that just as teachers had gotten used to REACH procedures, the CPS appears to be moving the target.

4. Victor Ochoa of Shurz High questioned a $37,000+ fine the CTPF (our Pension Fund) has imposed on the CTU for late payments. Jesse said that he and other officers are on leave but still need to pay into the fund like any active teacher. He said that the CTU made the payments but the CTPF did not accept them as they claim to be insufficient. Jesse recognized the problem and said the CTU is in discussion with CTPF as to what is the proper amount and as that is settled, will request a waiver on the fine.

5. The current Agreement has a provision to have the CPS spend up to $2 million a year to alleviate class size problems. Despite this, a delegate from McKinnie School complained that a very crowded kindergarten class is not being remedied and she had with her copies of forms she gave to the CTU in October and now again in January. Tom Lalagos went to a microphone and said he was part of the CTU class size committee and apologized as nothing has been done. A CTU staffer also spoke and argued that the fault lies with the Board; that their new security policy of fingerprinting employees greatly slowed down process.

The actual meeting then began on-time at4:45 p.m..

I. Officer’s/Administrative Reports

A. Michael Brunson – Recording Secretary. Michael yielded his microphone to Jennifer Conant, who is leading a possible strike by charter school teachers against Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS). CICS has 14 schools and Jennifer asked for our support like we supported the recently successful strike against the Acero Schools.

B. Financial Report – Kathy Catalano. Kathy reported that for the four months ending October 31, the CTU had a deficit of just under $3 million. One problem that led to this is the tax bill for the CTU Building is higher than expected. In the past she also said that the CTU gets no dues income in July and August. The money doesn’t start coming in until the school year has started.

C. Financial Secretary - Maria Moreno. Maria reported that there have been no new opt outs by teachers after the Janus decision. Current CTU membership is 26,325. Please note that the number of retiree members is down about 1,300 to 2,083. I assume that a number of renewals have not yet been processed, but if the current numbers don’t change we will lose aa least a dozen retiree delegates in the next election.

Maria also asked for volunteers or donation for the “Polar Plunge” which will be March 3. This annual event, where members jump into Lake Michigan, is used to raise money for Special Children’s Charities and the Special Olympics. A number of years ago my doctor gave me a very emphatic “NO!!!!” when I asked about doing it but one can still donate to the fund by going to ctulocal1.org/polar.

C. Vice President- Stacy Davis Gates. Stacy arrived late as she had been in Springfield to witness the swearing in of CTU member Aaron Ortiz and long time CTU supporter Delia Ramirez into the General Assembly.

Stacy talked about CTU endorsing Preckwinkle by saying a) no candidate is perfect, b)she has a god education program and c)she will win and that will be important to us.

Stacy also addressed the problem in increased rates for health care. The CTU sent a letter to the CPS to re-open the contract regarding healthcare. As I reported earlier, the CTU and CPS were to have a joint committee to meet and try to figure out cost savings in health care but the CPS has refused to meet. Even though the CTU has information of places for cost savings. Stacy then turned the microphone over to CTU Counsel, Robert Bloch.

Bloch said that after the CPS ignored our request to re-open the health care issue the CTU filed a grievance. The CPS denied our grievance so then we filed an Illinois Unfair Labor Practice (IULP) complaint. He said that the .8% increase in health care rates was more than offset by savings but the CPS will not turn over its data on the subject. In the case of an argument such as this the status quo should remain in effect until the dispute is settled but the CPS is not doing so. The problem in this case is complaints to the Illinois Labor Board take time and the Board is still filled by Rauner appointees. Bloch did raise the possibility of a IULP strike on this issue which is recognized by the federal government but not the State.

When Bloch was done, Stacy asked delegates to come to the microphone and give their personal stories of health care costs. After a few testimonials, one delegate said her husband works for the City and using his health care plan, they were able to save thousands of dollars a year on costs associated with severe problems one of her kids have. Why can’t the CPS health plans do the same?

II. President’s Report – Jesse Sharkey. Jesse said a recent poll of CTU members had 85% of the membership concerned about the costs of health care. The Executive Board wanted delegates to give their stories to make the issue more personal/

Although he didn’t say so, he indirectly alluded to the now controversial endorsement of Toni Preckwinkle for Mayor. He said getting into politics is crucial so we can influence public discourse and therefore the politicians. “We need to debate, decide, and move on”.

The possible upcoming strike by the United Teachers of L.A. can highlight the power of unions spreading across the nation. He asked that all members wear red on Monday in support of the L.A. teachers.

Lastly, he announced there is a “Contract Proposals Tele-Town Hall” on Tuesday, January 15 at 7:00 p.m. via phone. Call in information can be found at ctulocal1.org/call.

III. Items for Action.

A. Finally, at 6:20 p.m. (!), the House started going over contract proposals for the upcoming start of negotiations. The document was 50 pages long and just three minutes were allowed to discuss, debate, delete, or amend the proposals; two pages for every three minutes. Delegates did sometimes vote to extend debate on certain sections.

I am happy that a proposal I first made over 30 years ago was finally in the package – teachers should be paid an extra $5.00 per day for every student over the class size.

I stayed until 8:40 p.m. but then left. The House was only finished with about 2/3 of the proposals. I learned that they finally finished about 9:45 p.m.. and then adjourned with no further business from the agenda considered.



Comments:

January 14, 2019 at 9:06 PM

By: Jo-Anne Cairo

Hod meeting

I asked Jacqueline Ward today, what time was the HOD meeting over she told me 10:30PM. I forgot to ask how many delegates were still there. It's sad that if this was such an important issue, why wasn't the whole meeting dedicated to the contract. I'm not inferring that the other things discussed weren't important but not everyone is going to participate in the Town hall meeting on Tuesday January 15, eventhough there has been daily emails as reminders. That's another issue about questions being allowed to be presented.

ps thanks Milkowski for the notes about the meeting.

January 17, 2019 at 10:57 AM

By: john kugler

Back again

this needs to be a regular thing. for too long we have not been talking about what is happening with our Union. Good work George!! BTW in full disclosure Mr. Milkowski was the delegate before me at Hyde Park. It's his fault i became an activist :-)

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