A look at the past and future of CTU contract negotiations
Created by CatalystChicago on Mar 9, 2012
Last updated: 01/29/13 at 12:17 PM
Tags: Chicago Public Schools Chicago Teachers Union teachers Jean-Claude Brizard Karen Lewis
Claiming some major wins and gearing up for a renewed battle against school closings, Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted on Tuesday to suspend the strike. Classes will resume Wednesday morning, a relief for parents who had supported teachers but were ready for the strike to end.
City lawyers filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County for a preliminary injunction that would end the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike immediately.
On Tuesday, one of two things will happen in the ongoing Chicago teachers strike: The House of Delegates will suspend the strike, or they will send their leaders back to the negotiation table—a move that will likely kick off a complicated legal battle over whether the strike is legal at all.
An estimated 25,000 people gathered in Union Park Saturday to show support for the striking Chicago Public School teachers as negotiations over labor contracts continue.
CTU President Karen Lewis said that the union has worked out a "framework" with the school district. While she feels "extremely comfortable" with the framework, she says she will wait to present it to delegates until she has it in writing.
As negotiations dragged on into Thursday night, it began to seem doubtful whether CPS and the union would reach a deal by Friday's 2 p.m. House of Delegates meeting.
CPS releases more details on its contract proposal, and both sides seem optimistic that students could return to class Friday or Monday.
Sparring between CPS and CTU has recently focused on the issue of state-required teacher evaluations. The union says thousands of teachers could be at risk of being fired in the program’s first two years. But CPS says this is inaccurate.
Teacher evaluation and job security take center stage. Randi Weingarten weighs in.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel again Monday called the teachers’ strike one of “choice” and said that negotiators just need to figure out two issues. Though he said the issues were so resolvable that he thought the union should have postponed the walk out, he went on to insist that his position was correct and didn’t seem open to budging.
For the first time in a quarter of a century, CPS teachers are on strike.
On Saturday, the Chicago Teachers Union began using a Teamster City building to distribute strike signs and union clothing. The union also held a press conference where parents and students spoke in support of the teachers.
Community members from Bronzeville, Pilsen and Humboldt Park gathered outside the Chicago Teachers Union's Merchandise Mart headquarters Friday afternoon to teachers to call off Monday's strike.
As CPS released new details on its strike contingency plan, pastors representing over 100 African-American and Latino churches demanded that CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union come to agreement on a contract, pledged to offer programs for students if teachers strike and charged that CPS has been slow to prepare for a possible walkout.
The Chicago Teachers Union, likely looking to strengthen its hand in the face of a potential court injunction to stop a strike, announced Wednesday that it had filed unfair labor practice charges against CPS with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.
CTU President Karen Lewis says that even though CPS has moved away from merit pay, its salary offer is still "unacceptable." The union files Unfair Labor Practice charges and announces that it plans to strike over those, rather than the contract, because of laws protecting workers who strike due to unfair practices.
The CTU reports that its House of Delegates voted unanimously for a Sept. 10 strike date.
CPS has plans to open about one-third of public schools for a half-day if there is a strike, serving meals to students and offering some activities--but no instruction. Meanwhile, community groups are scrambling to pull together their own plans for students.
At two community meetings, activists and union members show support for the CTU's stand.
Teachers could walk out as soon as the second week of September following the Chicago Teachers Union’s issuance of a 10-day notice of intent to strike.
Chicago Teachers Union leaders said Friday morning they won’t file a strike notice today or Saturday, assuring the on-time opening of school, if not its continuation.
However, CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin left open the possibility that they would issue the 10-day warning Sunday or early next week. She also said contract negotiations were in full throttle at CTU headquarters on Friday.
Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted to give their leaders discretion to issue a 10-day notice of intent to strike. The move alerts CPS leadership and the public that a strike is a growing threat. If the CTU wants to strike on September 4, the first day of school, notice would have to be given by Saturday.
The CPS Board of Education approved a $5.7 billion budget on Wednesday, though it will have to be adjusted once the teacher contract is resolved. There’s little room left in the budget to increase salaries.
As the deadline nears for Chicago Teachers Union to give notice it could strike on the first day of school, teachers spend the week holding informational pickets at year-round schools and CPS is making contingency plans.
With the start of the regular-track school year quickly approaching, CTU President Karen Lewis sounds the warning bell that the union and the district still need to resolve many issues before a strike can be ruled out.
CPS and CTU announced a partial agreement in ongoing teacher contract negotiations on Tuesday, with the union accepting the lengthening of the school day and the district saying it will hire 477 teachers, giving preference to teachers displaced over the past two years.
Both the school board and the Chicago Teachers Union voted to reject a settlement recommended by an independent fact-finder, starting a 30-day countdown to a potential strike.
At a press briefing, CTU President Karen Lewis says the fact-finding panel has proposed a 12.6 percent raise for teachers due to the longer school day, plus a 2.25-percent cost of living increase and step and lane increases.
Chicago Teachers Union officials announced that 90 percent of the union’s entire membership – well over the 75 percent required by law – voted in favor of authorizing a potential strike.
Union President Karen Lewis called the results "an indictment" of the relationship between CTU and management.
But CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said the union set up the strike authorization vote as either teachers had to vote yes or nothing. “My frustration is that they were asked to vote with inaccurate information,” he said.
On the second day of strike authorization voting, a state labor relations board denied the district's request to force CTU to preserve ballots and other voting materials.
CTU, in turn, filed an unfair labor practice charge, saying that CEO Jean-Claude Brizard's letter to teachers was an attempt to intimidate them into not voting for the strike authorization.
As Wednesday’s strike authorization vote began, a battle began brewing between the district and the Chicago Teachers Union over the voting process itself.
CEO Jean- Claude Brizard’s team asked the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to issue an emergency order to have the union secure election material and provide the IELRB and the district access to them. The district wants 20 different pieces of material from a copy of the ballot to the “educational flyer provided to each member explaining the reasons for the strike authorization vote” to information on the messenger services retained to deliver ballot boxes.
CTU officials announced on Friday June 1 that a strike authorization vote would begin on June 6 and continue until there is a clear result one way or another.
Thousands of Chicago Teachers Union members held a boisterous rally at the Auditorium Theatre, with many teachers showing support for a possible strike in the fall.
Union officials previously announced that a strike vote would likely be taken before the end of the year and that 95 percent of the members who voted in a union survey would reject the current CPS proposal.
The CTU announces that a strike vote will likely happen before the end of this school year, though teachers can't walk out until school starts in the fall. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said the vote is a “bargaining tool."
CPS launched a new website designed to, it says, "provide the public with timely and factual information about the collective bargaining process as negotiations continue between CPS and its seven employee union organizations." The page contains links and info regarding the state education reform law known as SB7.
The Chicago Tribune reports that CPS and UNITE-HERE, which represents lunchroom workers, announce they have agreed on a pact that will give the workers a 2 percent raise each of the next two years.
The Chicago Teachers Union claims that teachers at 150 schools have showed support for a strike in informal polling, but won't name the schools. CPS says strike talk is "the wrong message to send" to schools and students.
CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin says the union requested fact-finding on April 2. According to a letter, the fact-finding process is slated to begin May 1.
The three-member fact-finding panel will then have up to 75 days to recommend a new contract agreement. After that, CTU and CPS will have up to 15 days to issue a report rejecting the panel's proposal. If that occurs, the Chicago Teachers Union would be able to strike, but not until after a 30-day cooling-off period. The union would have to notify CPS of its intent to strike 10 days in advance.
CPS announced on March 30 their plans for new teacher evaluations that factor in student achievement, which is mandated under the Performance Evaluation Reform Act of 2010.
In a victory for CPS - and a defeat for the Chicago Teachers Union - the Illinois Supreme Court rules that Chicago teachers, unlike those elsewhere in the state, do not have the right to be re-hired after an economic layoff.
The Chicago Tribune reports that it has obtained documents showing the CTU has asked district officials for a 24 percent raise in fall 2012 and a 5 percent raise the following year.
The Chicago Teachers Union issues a report calling for $713 million in additional spending on things like art, music, social workers, nurses, and smaller class sizes.
Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel note at separate public events that Chicago teacher pay is among the highest in any urban district. A Catalyst analysis finds that this is true, but that Chicago's suburbs pay their teachers even more than the city.
CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll says the district and CTU entered mediation in early February. At any time during the mediation period, either party can call for the appointment of a fact-finding panel, which would trigger the next steps in the lengthy process toward a potential strike.
The CTU confirms that some schools have independently begun holding "practice" strike votes. CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll calls the votes "disturbing."
CPS and CTU reach an agreement to halt the district's longer-day program, in which teachers were offered 2 percent raises in exchange for approving a contract waiver that added 90 minutes to the school day.
The move happened shortly after the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board decided to seek an injunction against CPS over the program.
CPS officials say they began meeting with the Chicago Teachers Union in November 2011, and had about 8 negotiation sessions between then and late January. But CTU President Karen Lewis says most of those meetings were just to discuss ground rules.
Chicago Teachers Union officials met privately with city aldermen to lay out their case for a "better school day," which would include extra enrichment classes and would be shorter than the 7.5-hour day touted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
They also got several aldermen to sign on to an ordinance that would declare a surplus of tax-increment financing district funds -- long derided by the union as "slush funds" -- and create extra school funding.
Stand for Children's Jonah Edelman says that during the CTU's most recent strike vote in 2003, just 48 percent of the union's members were in favor of it, far from the margin required by Senate Bill 7 (75 percent of all teachers in Chicago voting in favor of a strike.) But CTU spokeswoman Liz Brown looks through union records and notes that some past strike votes have come close.