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.