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Report of CTU's special meeting of the House of Delegates

A special meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates was called on October 29, 2019, to update the membership on the status of negotiations. It started at 6:19 p.m. CTU officers Christel Williams Hayes, Maria Moreno, Stacy Davis Gates, and Jesse Sharkey briefly addressed the assembly and gave kudos to the Big Bargaining Team (BBT) for the work they have done.

Jesse said that the CTU has reached agreement with the CPS on about 100 items, although the issue of make up days is not yet settled. He also said, “We think we are getting to the point where this body has to make a decision” on whether to continue the strike. He referenced a 12-page printout that summarized the items being negotiated and any progress being made on those issues. Access the document here.

Then he turned the microphone over to CTU Chief of Staff Jen Johnson and CTU junior counsel Thaddeus Goodchild and they proceeded to go through each page, asking for questions from the delegates. There was a five-minute time limit for each page although on a few pages there were motions to extend debate by an additional five minutes. Below is a quick summary of what was talked about on each page.

Page 1 – The CTU is asking for a 3-year contract but Mayor Lori Lightfoot insists on a 5-year deal. The Union will consider a five-year deal if the mayor acts to get an elected school board bill passed in Springfield and works to get the 1995 Amendatory Act repealed. The delegate from Armour School said that her faculty insists on a three-year contract.

Page 2 – There has been movement on staffing. CPS agrees to a phase in of social workers in every school over five years.

Page 3 – CPS agrees to spend an additional $35 million on class size remediation and to have step salary increases costing $25 million a year for veteran teaches now at the top of the step schedule.A delegate asked when would the class size “triggers” go into effect for remediation? Jen said immediately and also any class size problem cannot be solved be instituting “split” classes.

Page 4 – Regarding PSRP pay, different categories of PSRPs would get an increase of 5% or 9% in their base pay. A nurse delegate asked about controlling the cost of prescription drugs through the health plan. She was told that this is not subject to negotiations as it is determined by the contracts the CPS signs with various insurance companies. On a positive note, she was told the CPS will probably rescind its unilateral imposition this past January 1 of a .8% increase in health care costs. An Unfair Labor Practice had been filed on this and the Board would probably lose it in the long run.

Page 5 – Delegate Weingarten from LaSalle II brought up the fact that teachers who are absent for the Jewish holidays have to pay the cost of their subs. They would like to be able to legally use sick days for this. She was told that this will probably not happen.

There was a question about using PBs. Some principals are refusing to allow teachers to use them without knowing how they are to be used. We have filed grievances over this and have won consistently in arbitration. It is time to get it clear in the contract. A delegate who asked about caps on special ed class sizes was referred to a member of the big bargaining team.

Page 6 – The associate delegate from Kennedy said we needed to get parents to pressure politicians to end the strike. (I thought we already were doing that). The Union wants more information and a more extensive appeals process for tenured teachers who rated “Proficient” or “Excellent.” The Caldwell School delegate asked what we are doing to end Student Based Budgeting. Jen agreed that this is a problem but the Board doesn’t want to discuss this.

Page 7 – There has been no movement to reduce excessive student testing but there has been agreement on a moratorium on charter school expansion. Also, with counselors in every school, they will not be required to teach any classes.

Page 8 - Retiree Delegate Larry Milkowski argued that substitute teachers should have the same program as the teacher they are subbing for, including prep time, and not be overloaded with extra classes or duties. CPS had wanted to cut the few Sustainable Community Schools they have but agreed not to do so. They agreed to consider expanding them after they do more research on their effectiveness. The Board agreed to provide a health insurance benefit for subs who work an average of three days per week. This is designed to get more subs to work for the CPS.

Page 9 – If there is no room for a private and secure office for a clinician, it is the principal’s problem to find a proper place in the school. Bi-lingual personnel will not be required act as subs, do lunch duty, and so on.

Page 10 – Assistant teachers cannot be pulled from Early Childhood Education classes to sub. The proposal to ban furloughs has been rejected by the Board. It was suggested that, for the safety of the kids, election day be a non-attendance day for students as there are too many unknown people coming into schools that are used as polling places.

Page 11 – Frank McDonald from Washington High said the supply money allotment of $250 must be increased to $2,000. Jen said that the CPS won’t budge on this as every $25 increase costs the CPS $500,000. She said the Board has agreed to make it easier for teachers to spend the money, eliminating the 60-day window now required and pretty much removing restrictions on what the money can be spent.

Page 12 – CPS wants to eliminate mid year transfers, saying most transfers are from south and west side schools to north side schools. CTU wants to keep them to be able to protect teachers from abusive principals.

Jesse then took the podium and said a lot has been accomplished but the last big priority item that is unresolved is elementary prep time. He said that when we meet again, possibly October 30, the House will have to decided if the strike should continue until we get that prep time. We have to balance what we can achieve and we have to determine if teachers who are not in elementary school would be willing to stay out for those who are. I feel that he was intimating that the prep time issue will probably not be resolved in our favor and that he was trying to get a sense of what the rank and file is willing to fight for. The meeting ended at 8:26 p.m.



Comments:

October 30, 2019 at 1:33 PM

By: Sharon Schmidt

Special meeting

Thanks for your timely report, George. Here is another page by page summary from information received at the meeting by another delegate (will check with her to see if okay to post her name and school).

Page 1: Contract Duration - CPS is a hard no on any contract shorter than five years,

Page 2: Staffing - language allows a pipeline to certified school nurses and increase in social workers, nurses, TAs, Counselors and Librarians but does allows principals to choose staff based on need. Some delegates worry principals will not hire librarians.

Page 3: Class Size - There will be enforcement in the class size K-12 (and HS class size is 32 for academics, 35, and 38 for non academics). There will still be a class size committee but they must be more expedient and there will be consequences as decided by the class size committee - meaning schools could get money for positions or teachers could get overtime pay. There will also be language about principals who stuff the schools. This is actually a pretty good compromise on class size now that CPS is willing to spend money on it.

Prep Time - CPS will not budget on prep time in the primary schools

Pay - CPS offered $ 5 million a year for the duration on the contract to increase the pay of teachers step 14 and higher. Lightfoot offered that 20 minutes before the HoD so there is no updated pay scale yet.

page 4 & 5: All points are the same as stated in the Bargaining Summery

page 6: REACH - CTU has asked that at the very least teachers who receive a developing rating in the 251-285 range should be able to appeal their rating immediately. CTU wants to allow those teachers to appeal their rating only after they have been laid off. Also, it was mentioned that our newest rating was held back because CPS wanted to make teachers nervous before the strike. CTU negotiators said CPS is willing to go to the mattresses over REACH. They feel that strongly about it. No change on any other point on page 6

Page 7: Assessment and testing - Again CPS is going to mattresses over this. CTU is trying to maintain current contract language, No change on any other point on page 7

Page 8 & 9: All points are the same as stated in the Bargaining Summery

Page 10: Calendar - CTU is currently bargaining for teachers return to work agreement to include make up days equivalent to the days we have lost due to the strike. No change on any other point on page 10

Page 11: NBCT - stipend will remain the same. Supply money - CPS will cut the B.S. on reimbursements: No denials; no 60 day rule; they will set up vendors and accounts so teachers who not wish to pay out of pocket can get supplies in a simple process.

No change on any other point on page 11

Page 12: All points are the same as stated in the Bargaining Summery

October 31, 2019 at 11:33 AM

By: Rod Estvan

unclear on elected school board issue and contract length

First of all thanks for the summary of the meeting of the House. I am completely unclear about this "The Union will consider a five-year deal if the mayor acts to get an elected school board bill passed in Springfield and works to get the 1995 Amendatory Act repealed." How is that going to appear in a contract?

Moreover, when would that happen in the next few days? In the next year, when?

Assuming a 5 year deal is done how will the pay increases be distributed over those 5 years? Will they be heavily backloaded to later years? Was there any clarification given on that. Really with a possible recession coming CPS revenue in the future could always be in question, so backloading clearly has its dangers and money will not be in the pockets of teachers.

Lastly the actual vote was not discussed, according to what the CTU sent out "Delegates voted 364 to 242, with four abstentions, to accept the revised tentative agreement." With the provision that missed schools days be made up by CPS. There was very clearly some significant disagreement with accepting this deal.

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