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Report on the meeting of the CTU House of Delegates on October 2, 2019

The pre-meeting Question and Answer period began at 4:15 p.m A delegate said that classes were overfull, especially Special Ed classes. He has gone through the school’s PPC and gotten nowhere and has subsequently filed a grievance. President Jess Sharkey stated that it was good that he followed the proper procedures and the CTU will definitely work on this as it is a violation of State law.

The delegate from Garvey School said that elementary schools sports co-ordinator gets zero pay for that work and asked if the CTU is negotiating over this. Jesse said that this is a topic under discussion.

Nicole Fuller from Vanderpoel School said that most of her faculty is already at the top of the pay scale and asked if the Union is bargaining to get 25 steps in the salary schedule. Jesse responded by saying that the CTU is pushing “..for something meaningful for veteran teachers.”

Jim Vail of Hammond School wondered what is the criteria for a person to be rejected after requesting to serve on a Union committee? Jesse said that most requests are approved but if it is determined that the person seeking a committee position has a hard time dealing with others, the request will be denied. Apparently, this was the case with a teacher from Hammond.

The issue of the CPS raising PPO rates another .8% of salary last school year came up. Jesse said that this was a contract violation because the Union pointed out documented cost savings to the Board which should have negated any increase. CPS raised the rates any way and then refused to discuss the matter. The Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint and is awaiting that process to play itself out.

The Nightingale School delegate expressed great frustration over the ASPEN program. (One delegate said it recorded 7,000 tardies to first period classes on one day in a school with that doesn’t come close to having that many students). Jesse said CPS personnel has admitted off the record that the roll out and implementation of ASPEN was a mistake. Jesse said the CTU will be working on this once a new contract agreement is reached.

Frank McDonald from Washington High complained the Driver Ed teachers are getting $31.80 an hour and there needs to be an increase in the pay. Jesse agreed.

The issue of high school and elementary prep time came up. The Union is asking that it be 100% self directed but “..we may have to move off of that”. Jesse said the CTU’s main focus on this issue will be in the grammar schools. He said we won’t be giving up anything in our new contract.

Ed Hershey of Lindblom asked for an update on the status of Student Based Budgeting. Jesse said that it makes it hard for schools to keep veteran teachers because they are “too expensive” to keep on the payroll. He said that there has been some minor movement on this by the CPS.

When the delegate from Talcott School asked that information for parents on the CTU website be translated into Spanish, Jesse thought it was a good idea and will see that it gets done.

Lastly, Karen Soto of Waters School pointed out that her daughter is in a CPS high school and that ambulances are often called because there is no nurse assigned full time to the school. She wanted to have Jesse bring up the point of the huge expense of using ambulances versus the cost of having an actual nurse on site.

The regular meeting began at 4:47 p.m.

IA. Recording Secretary Christel Williams-Hayes – Christel introduced retired teacher Mark Nelson. Nelson painted an impressive painting, roughly 5’ x 5’, based on the 2012 strike. I thought it captured the mood of the teachers then and now. Lastly, Christel asked that no one talk with the press today until our final action of a strike authorization is held.

IB. Financial Report – Kathy Catalano – Kathy presented two papers. The first showed that we are in the red for this fiscal year but that is mostly due to the fact that while our expenses are continuous, are income from dues is not. Dues receipts are just coming in and she expects things to start to even out by December, which is the norm.

In June, the CTU budgeted $1 million for a possible strike and so far we have spent about $300,000 of that. She presented a paper that broke the various costs associated with negotiations to date.

IC. Financial Secretary Maria Moreno. Maria lauded the Delegates for getting out the vote for a strike. 94% of Union members voted “Yes” on the issue and that has had an apparent impact on negotiations. She said the CPS team has agreed on a few minor items that they had ignored earlier.

Maria also noted that the United Credit Union now has an office in the CTU Building and that they are willing to make small guaranteed loans to CTU members who will need them if a strike occurs.

ID. Vice President Stacy Davis Gates – Asking for a show of hands, Stacy asked how many Delegates have listened to the new CTU podcast. Very few responded in the positive. (Note: I had learned of the podcast just two days earlier). Stacy said the Chicago Tribune did a story on it and the Trib is no friend of the CTU. She said it is important that we get our messge out, so if you would like to listen in, go to: ctulocal1.org/podcast.

Stacy said that the negotiating strategy of the CPS is to withdraw all negotiations that are mandatory under the law, thus leaving only the permissible items on the table, which they will ignore. Then the Board can accuse us of conducting an illegal strike over the remaining issues. But Stacy stressed that we need to hold firm. She said that 1) the CPS has $1 billion in new money, 2) the issues we are pushing are for the benefit of the kids, and 3) the powers that be CAN settle this without a strike if they really want to do so.

II. President’s Address – Jesse Sharkey

Jesse stated that we are in a P.R. battle with Mayor Lightfoot. We have to keep repeating our message which is “Our goal is to reach a contract victory without a strike”. He pointed out a handout in our packets that listed which listed 61 items that the CTU has presented to the CPS since the start of negotiations in January and that the CPS has given “No response” to 39 of them; a 64% rate of ignoring the proposals.

Jesse asked that we authorize a strike to begin on October 17. He stressed that he will make it clear to the Board that we will not settle on a contract until the rank and file have time to look over any agreement that is reached. I the CPS presents us with a package on October 16, then the strike will go on until we have time to evaluate it. He said the October 17 date is useful because it 1) gives more time for serious negotiations, 2)helps look better in the public eye, and 3) lines us up with ta unified strike of SEIU Local 73. As an aside, he also said it wouldn’t hurt to get a few more days of pay.

III. Items for Action

A. House of Delegates Strike Authorization Resolution. This passed by acclamation with no objections.

B. CTU Resolution Supporting Worker Solidarity. This passed unanimously.

C. CTU Endorsement of IFT Resolution #1 Advocate for Passage of a Fair Tax in Illinois. This also passed without opposition.

CTU staffer Marty Ritter than addressed the assembly. The CTU has printed signs stating “We Support Chicago Teachers and Staff”. These signs, about 12” x 18”, are meant to be put in the windows of businesses across the City and Delegates were asked to take a handful with them. Marty also said that the CTU will have a teleconference on October 13 to update the membership on the status of negotiations.

At this point, as I was at a microphone, I was asked by Marty to motion to suspend the rules so the Chicago media could be invited in for a press conference/rally, I made the motion and then the press came in. The press conference/rally lasted about 30-40 minutes.



Comments:

October 9, 2019 at 9:25 PM

By: Jo-Anne Cairo

HOD meeting

Why does the CTU allow the voting delegates to sit in the visitors section and the visitors sit the delegates section. I understand that many teachers have children but the HOD meeting is not a safe environment for the little ones to be in

They only have one retiree at the door and she gets NO SUPPORT, The delegates who sit in the visitors section don't wear their badges.buhe meeting, t there is no one to enforce the rules. They had 2 plain clothes police officers at the meeting. It was more of a safety hazard in that hall and the fire department should have been called for those children.

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