Budget Cuts Chicago Unions

CTU to Members: Prepare for Possible Strike

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The Chicago Teachers Union has shown that it is not afraid to strike. In 2012, its decision to strike was approved by a near unanimous vote. Now, teachers are bracing for more budget cuts, even as the Rahm Emanuel-picked Board of Education shifts resources and students to nonunion charter schools.

It it is a strange world we live in when a mayor of a major city calls himself a Democrat as he doubles down on his war against public schools and unions.

What do you call Mayor Emanuel? A Republicrat?

Here is the latest from the Chicago Teachers Union:

November 2, 2015 312-329-6250

Chicago Teachers Union prepares the rank-and-file for possible labor strike as threats of mass layoffs continue

CHICAGO – Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked public schools chief announced a change in his proposed timeline to lay off 5,000 or more educators who are demanding a fair labor contract. CEO Forest Claypool claims teachers could start losing their jobs as early as January, shortly after the end of the holiday season. This is why the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is encouraging members to start saving a portion of their paychecks in order to weather a possible labor strike.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) continues with its plan to remove protections for experienced and qualified educators who lose their positions through no fault of their own. Massive layoffs only exacerbate the current 50 percent teacher turnover rate every five years — something that interferes with continuity and quality instruction.
“We are asking teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians in our bargaining unit to save at least 25 percent of their pay in preparation for a possible strike,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “With the uncertainty in Springfield, the continued chaos at the Board of Education, and the constant threats to our classrooms, we have to be prepared. Our families will depend on us being able to weather what could be a protracted strike.”

Lewis also said more than 200 schools have taken unofficial, independent straw polls testing the members’ strike-ready temperatures but the union will run its own mock strike vote this week. “Teachers are feeling the strain placed on them by principals who have to work with reduced budgets and cuts to special education and other necessary programs. Class sizes are ballooning and the district is crying broke when it comes to our demands for more teaching resources while at the same time cheering themselves on while opening multi-million dollar charter operations. This makes no sense. We have to take a stand for our profession and for our students and their families.”

On Thursday, November 5th, the CTU will run an official ‘practice’ strike vote and contract poll in all CPS school buildings. The exercise helps prepare members should they decide to take an official strike vote in the coming days. State law requires 75 percent affirmative vote from CTU’s entire membership. However, a strike authorization vote is an internal union affair of which the Board has absolutely no legal right to interfere in any way.

In three weeks, thousands of CTU members are expected to present a unified front on November 23rd when they rally in Grant Park at Butler Field, 100 S. Lake Shore Drive. In addition to hearing speeches from Union leaders, people will listen to testimonies from parents, community leaders, students and other labor leaders. The 5:30 p.m. event will include a tailgate, with free food and beverages, and include a special commemoration for CPS students who have been killed or impacted by gun violence.

Labor talks between the CTU and the Board remains in mediation and negotiations are ongoing. Should CTU members decide to strike it will the second teachers strike in the last three years, both of which will have occurred during the Emanuel administration.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 27,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at http://www.ctunet.com.

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