Now, the teachers get to say.


Teachers at International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn congratulate Chicago teachers on their contract win today. “Your fight is our fight!”

Some contract settlements make me scratch my head in negative amazement. Some put a smile on my face. But as a career union teacher who led a local and sat long hours at the bargaining table many times, I strongly believe that the collective bargaining agreement belongs to the those who must work it. The rest of us may have opinions. Only members get to vote.

The tentative agreement that the CTU bargaining team will present to its House of Delegates, and if passed, to its members, is theirs and theirs alone to vote yea or nay.

At a time when Illinois has a governor who came into office with a promise to destroy public employee unionism, that alone would be a victory.

Bruce Rauner is a big loser in the agreement that put teachers and students in classrooms yesterday morning.

But there is more.

Rahm said the city was broke, demanded a return of the previously bargained  7% pension pickup and portrayed the board’s early offers as a pay raise when it was a pay cut.

CTU members get to keep the pickup, new hires get the 7% as direct compensation and there is a real pay raise in the third and fourth year.

With the TA,  CTU demonstrated to all that the city isn’t broke. We may not be able to afford another selective admission high school reserved for the rich and famous and named after Obama, but Rahm was forced to open up his TIF piggy bank in order to settle this thing.

To me, its a teacher win.

No strike means it’s a parent  and student win. Our city’s public school kids are in classrooms with great teachers.

Doubt me? You try doing what they do.

Rahm wins too. The last thing he needed was another teacher strike. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see an improvement in his polling numbers, which since the Laquan McDonald murder and cover-up, were below Trump’s.

A collective bargaining agreement never resolves everything. That’s why it is called negotiating. What we work for is to make the new CBA be an improvement of our living and working situation compared to the last one.

When I congratulated the CTU on the tentative agreement, President Karen Lewis wrote in response, “Fred, now we need to turn our contract action teams into contract ENFORCEMENT teams!!”

And as usual Ms Lewis nails it.

The biggest winner is the militant democratic unionism of the CTU.  Make no mistake. Without the real threat of a strike looming right up until the final minutes before the deadline of midnight Monday, we wouldn’t be sitting here with students and teachers in classrooms doing what they need to do.

That’s a win for all working people.

6 Replies to “Now, the teachers get to say.”

  1. I glanced at a newspaper this morning and noticed a sub headline that said something in the way of Rahm stating that this latest bit of progress indicates that the city is rebounding. The article also hinted that Rahm is using this as a lead-in to his third term. I guess since the strike has been averted we can all forget about the Laquan McDonald incident, Triple-B, Amer Ahmad, and the undisturbed TIF money. This is a nation of sheep who like to sleep…..except when it’s time to tune in to the latest news about the Kardashians, or some other reality show. I predict that Rahm will be around for a while. BTW….what ever happened to “Amish Mafia”?

  2. Karl said it in last post…the next project is to stop democrts from backsliding. Since we have a good chance to have a supermajority after the Trump collapse that means to stop Rauner from forcing a strike by state workers.

  3. Fred,
    I enjoy reading your blog and usually find it informative, but I don’t understand why you haven’t exposed CTU on this tentative agreement. When teachers’ losses from last year are figured in plus the rise in insurance costs, this raise is not equal to 4.5%…not even close. I was extremely disappointed to hear Karen Lewis sell this to the public as a win for teachers. The public needs to be fully aware that teachers are sacrificing again and not getting a 4,5% raise. Why is our Union spreading this lie?

    1. Disappointed,
      There is nothing to expose. The contract is there for you and everyone to read and judge for themselves. If you are a member of the CTU, which is not really knowable, you can vote for it or against it and YOU can “expose” it among your colleagues. There is a two percent cost of living raise in the third year. There is a 2.5% cost of living raise in the fourth year. This is in addition to step and lane increases already in the contract. Teachers who did not receive a step last year because there was no contract will move two steps. Would I pay teachers more? Of course. Is a contract ever a measure of a teachers actual worth? Never. I see nobody in the CTU leadership spreading lies.

  4. Fred,
    In August the Union posted on their website teachers’ net losses last year and potential net losses in following years if they would have accepted CPS’ offer from January and you reposted it on your blog. The Union reported that teachers lost 3.24% last year, which is included as part of the 4 years of the current tentative agreement. Add to that the rise of .8% in insurance costs. The 4.5% raise turns into a .46% raise. The Union is well aware of that and declaring a 4.5% raise when in reality it is a .46% raise is a blatant lie. You always do a great job of not only providing information, but also giving thoughtful commentary. I wanted to hear your thoughts on the misrepresentation of the raise.

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