Explaining collective bargaining.

5 thoughts on “Explaining collective bargaining.

  1. “I generally associate transparency with democracy.”

    Well, kudos, I guess, for admitting that charters have nothing to do with democracy then.

  2. Does Mr. Cunningham know that the CTU has a Big Bargaining Team of 40 teachers, clinicians and teacher aids who scrutinized the proposal from CPS? The union constitution gives the union president the sole power to make bargaining decisions, but the CORE leadership of the CTU has opened that up to a much more democratic process.

  3. The creation of the Big Bargaining Team is more democratic. But Cunningham is using a talking point of his corporate sponsors. A contract can’t be bargained by 30,000 members and he knows that. Democracy and transparency aren’t Cunningham’s goals. His goal is to undermine the legitimacy of the CTU. It was also the goal of those who were yelling sellout before the Big Team even had a chance to vote.

  4. Peter Cunningham is right about many things during the above discussion. Anyone who claims that the intimate details of negotiations for a union contract of the complexity of the CTU contract is wrong. The “BBT” added some assistance to those trapped around the bargaining table with the Board of Education’s “team”, but much of the discussion had to be off the record. Factually: The CTU Constitution and By laws provide that any proposed Tentative Agreement be submitted in full to the House of Delegates. There are few examples of more democracy than we have in the Chicago Teachers Union. The House of Delegates is elected to represent the full membership, school by school and unit by unit. The HOD (about 800 members) then reviews the proposed tentative agreement and makes a recommendation to the membership. No contract is every approved without membership review and a vote in all the schools, after there has been a full discussion. That has been the historical reality for every contract since the CTU began negotiating contracts with the Chicago Board of Education in the late 1960s. The House of Delegates has rejected contract proposals in the past. The membership usually has voted according to the HOD recommendation, but there have been serious differences. However, to claim that the union president has some overarching power about collective bargaining is simply not true. The president usually heads the union’s “table team” (but has not always done so). Although it’s sort of accurate to claim that the President has some sole power, it’s never been the case. No CTU president would dare bring a really bad Tentative Agreement (I prefer to call it the “Proposed Tentative Agreement”) to the House of Delegates. The “Big Bargaining Team” basically saved the union’s officers and attorneys from the embarrassment of a major defeat in the House of Delegates. But — an important BUT — there is no mention in the Constitution and By Laws of the Chicago Teachers Union establishing this “Big Bargaining Team.” The procedures (HOD recommendation; membership review and vote in all schools) had been the case for CTU for half a century. Let’s not get carried away with current events. I’ve been a member of the union’s Rules Elections Committee for some time, and will be part of the committee during future votes on both proposed contracts and in the upcoming (May 2016) general election. Of one thing I am certain in 2016. The members of the House of Delegates, and the rank and file in the schools, will never again tolerate, as we did in 2012, an incomplete copy of the Proposed Tentative Agreement, since too many unpleasant surprises arise when you haven’t been able to read every paragraph and review every change. One of the oddest surprises in the current contract comes about the rights of the union officers and staff to return from leave to their previous jobs. Under the current Article 1-17.5 (a) and (b) the current union officers and staff members (for example, teachers on leave to work at QUEST or as field reps) no longer have the right to return to their previous schools of their previous jobs! For reasons which have never been explained, the CTU negotiators gave up those rights (which had been in place for decades, by the way) to end the 2012 strike.

    • You say that the viciously anti-union Peter Cunningham was “right about many things” in our twitter exchange. Cunningham’s main thesis was that the CTU “didn’t even publicly share the details with their members until after the bargaining committee turned it down.” Was he right that CTU bargaining rules require that the bargaining team share with members the board’s offer before turning it down? As an expert on CTU union rules, please cite the part that says that.

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