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$25 million for veteran teachers not addressed at January Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates

Although front-page news the previous day, CTU officials did not address a major contract dispute at the Jan. 8, House of Delegates meeting. The Chicago Sun-Times had reported that CPS won't count the $25 million increase for veteran teachers – agreed to in the new contract – as a change in base salary, instead plans to pay it as a bonus.

CTU officials responded in a tweet on Jan. 8: "Our strike forced CPS to recognize veteran teacher contributions, and make countless other improvements for schools. As soon as members voted to ratify, the district broke our deal, demanding that most of the $25 million be paid in one-time bonuses, not added to base salaries."

An unfair labor practice with the Illinois Educational Labor Board was filed by CTU against CPS on Dec. 20, saying that CPS is "engaging in regressive bargaining and refusing to honor an agreement reached on wages."

See the Chicago Sun-Times' follow up on Jan. 10: "City won’t give in to union in fight over veteran teacher pay, mayor says."

The CTU Jan. 8 meeting started a bit late at 4:28 p.m. with the traditional pre-meeting Question and Answer period.

-A delegate from Young High School asked about the new lane placement schedule for PSRPs. She was told that the placement on Lane 3 won’t be until 2022 but applications are being taken now. It will take time for the CPS to verify all education degrees and credits. In the meantime PSRPs can be placed on Lane 2 now.

-David Argonda asked if we are without a contract as the CPS is arguing over the additional pay for veteran teachers. CPs wants to award money to veteran teachers as a bonus bit CTU insists it become part of the regular pay schedule. CTU has filed an unfair labor practice with the Illinois Labor Board over this.

-Alison Eichorn of Lindbloom said that re-imbursements for teachers spending for school supplies out of pocket are being denied wholesale. Pres. Sharkey confirmed this by a show of hands from the assembly and will take this up with the Board.

-Another delegate from Young asked if teachers can be allowed to leave school to attend a meeting regarding their own children as may be needed regarding a child’s IEP or for some other like reason. She was told that State law allows teachers to attend to the meetings regarding their children up to four hours twice a year.

-

Frank McDonald from Washington High asked that all after school programs should have the pay be pensionable as is common in other school districts. Jesse agreed but said that we cannot do anything because this is based on State law.

The regular meeting then began at 4:48 p.m.

I. Officers’/Administrative Reports

A. Recording Secretary Christel Williams-Hayes – Christel spoke on the importance of protecting our contract and said that the best way to do so was to have an active PPC. An important aspect of the PPC is that it helps develop a paper trail that can become important if there is need to file a grievance.

B. Maria Moreno gave the financial report for Kathy Catalano who was absent. Dues money is starting to flow in and we are now close to being on budget. We are also expecting some funds from the IFT and AFT of over $137,000.

Maria also said that our remaining rent at the Merchandise Mart has been reduced 40% as the Mart offered us a chance to buy out of it.

C. Financial Secretary Maria Moreno then gave her own report. Our membership is up (to28,028) and she urged delegates to talk with their non-member colleagues and try them to join the CTU. She also said that they should be urged to contribute to the CTU PAC fund. She said State and local politicians have been co-operative with us as our numbers and political power has grown.

Maria also urged people to participate in the annual Polar Plunge. If you don’t want to jump in the lake, you can just go in up to your ankles or make a donation. The money goes a long way to help special ed kids.

There is a vacancy for a CTU Trustee and Maria explained that the procedure to fill it is different from other vacancies on the Executive Board. In this case, the Executive Board will make a recommendation to the House of Delegates and they will then vote to accept or reject it.

D. Vice President Stacy Davis Gates – Stacy said that in reviewing the last decade the CTU was ranked as one of the top news stories in Chicago and that Crain’s listed Jesse as one of the top 25 influential people in Chicago; the only union member on the list. She said The Nation put the CTU on its Honor Roll for its social and educational activism. Yet she was concerned that there appears to be a disconnect between our power in the public eye and the way too many CTU members act in their schools. She said we need to support one another and all have to work to make this contract work.

II. President’s Address

Jesse backed up Stacy’s remarks and said the Union’s top priority in 2020 is to enforce the contract. He said the CTU’s strength is our solidarity in the schools. To that end the CTU is hosting a “School Leaders Conference” at Whitney Young School on January 18. He also said that there is a traditional delegates’ workshop scheduled in March and that we should consider canceling the March House meeting because of it. Jesse said the CTU is also sponsoring a Local School Council Summit on January 25 for those who are interested in running for and serving on LSCs. If more people are willing to get involved on the LSCs, then schools can be improved from the inside.

III. Items for Action

A. Political endorsements

State’s Attorney –Kim Foxx

Illinois House of Representatives

2 Theresa Mah

10 Omar Williams

16 Denyse Wang Stoneback

19 Lindsey LaPointe

20 Michelle Darbro

26 Kam Buckner

27 Justin Slaughter

31 Mary Flowers

40 Jaime Andrade

No one spoke against any of the above individuals so all of them were endorsed by the House. However, although no one spoke against them there were about 20-30 “Nays” voiced from the audience.

B. There was the “Resolution For Black Lives Matter At School; Week of February 3-7, 2020,” which passed unanimously.

IV. Department/Committee Reports

A. Pension report by Mary Sharon Reilly. Mary Sharon announced that the CTPF is the oldest pension fund in the state and is now 125 years old. Those who are thinking of retiring this year or in the near future should attend one of the upcoming retirement seminars to be held on February 17 and April 7.

Mary also reminded people that the CTPF has moved to a new, more secure location and that one would have to have a picture I.D. for entry.

Lastly, she said that some charter schools are delinquent in their payments to the Pension Fund. A list of the delinquent schools is on the CTPF website.

B. Organizing – Tennille Evans. Tennille said that the upcoming LSC Summit is important and delegates should try to get sympathetic parents to attend if they are interested in serving on an LSC. Tennille also said that there will be a Chicago PEACE (Parents, Educators and Clergy for Education) Brunch on February 29 at the CTU Building. This is part of CTU’s outreach to build bridges to the community. She also said that the CTU would like to have a choir perform at the Brunch so if you like to sing, contact Tennille.

V. New Business/Questions and Answers

-A delegate asked about how to go about implementing the new contract provisions regarding class size. Jesse said most provisions kick in starting with the 2020-21 school year. There can be some limited action this year regarding classroom aides.

-Frank McDonald took issue with some of the remarks Stacy Davis Gates made regarding teachers not recognizing their power in the schools. He said many seem unsure to take action as there is a large backlog of unresolved grievances. A delegate said the backlog is due to the CPS not having enough staff to deal with them. She said there are currently six vacancies in the CPS’ legal department.

-A delegate from Stevenson has a grievance over teachers being paid only $40.90 to attend mandated afterschool training that is under appeal. In her case it is for training for the BRIDGE Program but other programs face the same situation.

-Another delegate asked there is any organizing of a PPC that covers an entire CPS Network. Jesse said the Union does work to organize such a PPC when delegates in a articular Network indicate they are interested in having one. -

Jim Vale of Hammond School sent the CTU a resolution regarding TIFs and asked what was its status. Jesse said that CTU hasn’t acted on it yet.

-Ed Hershey asked if the CTU can have one place on its website where all approved resolutions can be located. He was told that it can be done but there is a matter of having the time to enter all of them.

-A new delegate from Burrell School asked what can be done when a principal is erratic and is pushing teachers out. Jesse said that that was too complicated to answer and asked that she stay to talk about it after the meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 6:28 p.m.



Comments:

January 12, 2020 at 8:22 PM

By: Edward F Hershey

Thank You for Report

David Arredondo is the delegate referenced early on

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