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Report on the November 2019 meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates

Salary schedules, sick days, strike make-up days, and the vote on the tentative agreement were discussed during the November 12, 2019, meeting of the Chicago Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates. The meeting started on time at 4:15 p.m. with the traditional pre-meeting Question and Answer period.

The first delegate asked why there was no definite final salary schedule. President Jesse Sharkey responded that the hold-up was due to some unresolved details regarding the increased pay for veteran teachers.

The Tentative agreement (TA) allots $5 million dollars each year for pay increases for those who are near the top of their salary schedule. The TA says that the final details on this are to be worked out later after agreement between the CTU and the CPS. The sticking point is that the CPS doesn’t want to have the increases compounded during the length of the contract as compounding greatly increases the costs to the Board over five years. Of course, a salary increase for those near retirement will help boost their pensions. Jesse said that things will be worked out eventually.

With the five make-up days scheduled on what was to be holiday time, many teachers have already booked flights, hotels, and so on for those days. There is conflicting information from the CPS as to whether teachers can use PBs or sick days. Jesse said definitely do not use sick days unless you are really sick. He will try to get the use of PBs clarified but at this point the safest route is for teachers to take “zero” days.

The delegate from Stewart Academy asked when the CPS is going to get rid of ASPEN (the attendance and grade program). She said one student had a panic attack when the student looked at his records and saw three Fs when in reality the kid had Bs and Cs. Jesse said that some CPS administrators admitted to him that there are serious flaws in the system and talks over ASPEN will continue.

The delegate from Cather School was concerned about the security of information that is presented at delegate meetings. Jesse asked all delegates not to tweet any information out to anybody or any media during meetings. He understands that many delegates make written reports and send them to their co-workers but asks that no one send out information as to our internal goings-on while the meetings are in progress.

The Beasley Academic Center delegates asked about the use of 15 minutes of assigned non-instructional duties. Jesse made it clear that no one should be required to teach in those fifteen minutes and to grieve it if a principal does assign teaching duties.

The regular meeting then started at 4:45 p.m.

I. Officers/Administrative Reports

A. Recording Secretary Christel Williams-Hayes – Christel pointed out that “Giving Tuesday” runs from November 1 to December 3, 2019. The CTU is trying to raise $20,000 for the Student Special Assistance and Scholarship Funds. The money raised will be used to help pay for eyeglasses, hearing aids, clothing, and of course, scholarship assistance. If you would like to donate via PayPal, go to CTUF.org/donate.

Christel, a woman very proud to be a para-professional, lauded the TA for the increase in salary for PARAs. For the first time PARAs will be getting salary increases for having college degrees.

B. Financial report by Kathy Catalano – Kathy gave a finalized report on CTU finances as of August 31, 2019. As reported earlier, the CTU was spending more then it was taking in, but now that the school year is started membership dues are starting to flow in and the imbalance will start to even out.

C. Financial Secretary Maria Moreno – Maria went over the rules for the referendum vote in the schools this week Thursday and Friday. Delegates are to count the ballots but are not to open or count supplemental ballots.

Maria went over some of the TA wins for clinicians, including the increase in the number of nurses and social workers, that current contract nurses will be phased out and that there will bonuses for nationally certified clinicians, something teachers already have. Maria also pointed out that bi-lingual personnel will be getting a $500/semester stipend if they do a lot of translation services, that ICE will be barred from schools unless they have proper search warrants, and that the TA improves teacher-student ratios for ESL students.

D. Vice President Stacy Davis Gates – Stacy spoke briefly saying that we should not be satisfied with the TA; that we should use it as a base to work to get more for ourselves and for our students. She said, “There is still much to get.”

II. President’s Report

“This was a difficult strike,” Jesse said. “We were unable to make any substantive gains until we walked out on strike.” He noted that in almost every instance when reporters went to picket lines to talk with strikers they asked about the proposed salary increase but the picketers always responded by talking about the need for nurses, social workers, prep time and other non-salary issues of importance.

He said that Mayor Lightfoot kept saying things that she had to backtrack on. The CTU estimated that the demands they achieved in the TA will cost about $109 million every year which is what they expected. He feels that “we got all the money we could get out of the CPS.” He also said that dealing with Lightfoot was a problem. According to Jesse, she said, “I hate you. You hate me. You’re out to get me!”

Jesse said to make the TA work every school needs to have a viable PPC. He also said that some of the provisions of the TA require joint CTU/CPs committees and that the Union needs volunteers to step and help fill the committee slots. Jesse concluded his remarks by saying the Board has indicated a willingness to look into problems with REACH and SQRP

III. There were no items for action.

IV. New Business/ Q. and A.

Kathy Petty complained of the deduction of Union dues from checks given that current checks are smaller due to days being on strike. VP Davis Gates said the Union “took a hit” due to the strike but it still has to run and needs the funds.

The Hayt School delegate asked for a clarification on the pay scale for school clerks.

A question was asked about the criteria that the class size committee would be using to determine what actions it would take to alleviate crowded classes. Jesse said that the joint committee would set its own guidelines, concentrating on schools with the most need.

In response to a question, Jesse said that if the membership rejects the TA, the House would have to meet and set a date to resume the strike.

LaShawn Wallace gave kudos to the officers Big Bargaining Team for the accomplishments in the TA. She also announced the CTU Social Committee is forming a Gospel Choir for the 2020 celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

The increase in bankable sick days will be retroactive to July1 of this year.

Kevin Triplett of Barton School was accidently paid a PB during the strike and wants to return it. His school clerk has no idea on what to do. He will have to sit down with Union staff to figure this out.

The Parkside delegate said that 90-95% of teachers at that school received no ratings through REACH in the last two years, but now ratings are being issued. They bear no relation to that last previous ratings available. Jesse said to contact a field rep and grieve it.

The meeting adjourned at 6:31 p.m.



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