Here’s the deal. Updated.

Why read the contract? Two words: Parking meters.

Whether a contract is satisfactory or not is ultimately for the members to decide.

It makes no difference if some sideline critic in New York or California thinks the tentative agreement is great or that the leadership sold the membership out.

Or what my opinion is for that matter.

98% of those voting authorized a strike last summer. 98% of the House of Delegates voted to end it yesterday.

From the Sun-Times:


3 percent in year one. 2 percent in years two and three. 3 percent if union approves fourth year. No merit pay. Board originally offered a one-time 2 percent raise. Preserves additional raises for extra years of service and education.

Health care

Freeze on health care premiums and copays for members in exchange for participating in a wellness program. Members pay $600 per year for each family member who opts out of the Wellness Program. There is an exception for smokers who won’t have to pay.

Sick pay

Existing sick days may be cashed out at retirement. Up to 40 future unused sick days are pensionable and may be banked for short term disability or maternity, not retirement. New short term disability and maternity benefits pay 100% up to 30 days; 80% next 30 days; 60% for third 30 days.

Time in school

7 hours of elementary students; 71/2 for high school students four days a week and shortened fifth day. 170-day school year expanded to 180 days.


Year-round and traditional school calendars merged into one, district wide. Creates a committee of union and board members to work out details of what new calendar will look like.


Over 600 new full and part-time positions to staff longer school day in subjects such as art, music and PE.


“No stakes” for tenured teachers during the first year. Establishes appeals process for bad ratings. Tops out 70 percent based on teacher practice; 30 percent on student growth in test scores. If union opts to keep contract for fourth year, student growth will count for 35 percent, the district says.

Class size

The district’s policy on class size remains in the contract. And a new “workload” committee gets $500,000 to address understaffing among clinicians, counselors and special education staffers.

Layoffs and recall

12-week payout or 40 weeks in the reassignment pool, half at regular pay, half at cadre substitute pay. Teachers displaced by a school closing who are highly rated can follow their students to their new school if there is an opening. Principals must interview any well-rated applicant from a closed school.

Also: $250 reimbursement for teachers who buy supplies. Text books guaranteed in schools by first day of class. Anti-bullying clause added for first time to prohibit principals from “abusive and demeaning conduct.”

It was reported to me that a big cheer went up among members of the HoD at the elimination of the boards requirement of night and weekend professional developments requirements.

Important items on the corporate reform agenda were beaten back.

Among these included merit pay.

State law that requires measures of student performance be included as part of a teachers evaluation. The CTU bargained the minimum requirement.

Concessions were won on the issue of teacher recall and principal discretion. I would predict that this will continue to be the focus of CTU concern since Rahm has already threatened more school closings.

But the current leadership has never restricted themselves to fighting through the collective bargaining agreement alone, as no good leadership should. A fightback against school closings, organized with their allies in the community, has been a feature of their past work and I would suspect it will be continued even after the contract is signed.

Good union leadership never restricts itself to the contract alone.

Then there were the non-contractual wins.

Coming out of the strike, Mayor Emanuel has become immensely unpopular. Various polls showed strong support among parents for the teachers. Rahm’s handling of the strike and negotiations leading up to it polled at around 20% support.

So-called labor experts will try to tell you that a strike will poison the relationship between teachers and the community for years. My own experience tells me that this is baloney.

Some of the teachers I talked to were hurt by some comments they received on the street. And understandably so.

But if over 65% of the people support you, than 35% don’t. And some of those 35% behaved badly.

Even the two days that the strike was extended this week only served to burnish the democratic reputation of the union.

It is a grotesque reflection on members of the City Council and the editorial writers when they criticize teachers for wanting to read the contract. 

Two words: Parking meters.

Updated: A comparison of the board proposals and final framework can be found here.

5 thoughts on “Here’s the deal. Updated.

  1. This is good—still a lot of work to do. We need to keep in mind the coming battle on pensions and health insurance.

  2. Wow! What a difference between what the board wanted to do to the teachers and what was accomplished by the strike! Everyone needs to read the “comparison of the board proposals and final framework” that is linked above. What the board was trying to do was even scarier than what I originally thought, and the strike prevented or rolled back a lot of it. Teachers all over the country need to read the comparison to see what can be accomplished by standing up for your profession. Wow!

  3. Fred, you are SO right that a strike doesn’t “poison the relationship between teachers and the community for years.” When our district went on strike–and held several (bilingual, might I add) community meetings to explain the reasons behind it, people responded with
    understanding. Businesses brought us food and baked goods. Many, many people honked for us. When it was over, and we were on outside duty, people in cars yelled, “Welcome back!”

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