The Chicago Teachers Union made headlines a few months ago when it was revealed that the union was demanding a 30 percent raise in its new contract proposal.
Such an enormous raise – regardless of the supposed justification – would be unthinkable in a district with a $665 million budget deficit and a 9.8 percent unemployment rate.
The school board countered with an offer of a two percent raise, which would still be a burden on the district’s overstretched budget.
As a result, both the CTU and Chicago Public Schools requested an “independent” fact finder to look at both sides’ proposals and suggest some sort of compromise.
This morning, the fact finder is expected to release his report, which calls for a 15-20 percent raise for CTU members in the first year of the contract, according to the Chicago Tribune.
And the union is expected to reject that recommendation.
Thumbing its nose at a massive raise – which incidentally has no relationship to job performance – will likely not be received well in a community that is enduring some of the worst unemployment rates in the country.
The Tribune reports:
“The Chicago Teachers Union had gone into negotiations asking for a wage increase of nearly 30 percent over two years. Sources said the union realizes that the price of a major pay hike in terms of lost jobs and working conditions would be too high.
“Union officials now face the task of explaining to members why it would reject a salary increase that is less than they asked for but significantly higher than the 2 percent first-year raise CPS initially offered.”
Sources tell EAGnews.org that the union will be assembling its leaders Wednesday to formally accept or reject the fact finders report. At that meeting, it will also likely set a date to strike.
Why won’t the union schedule a vote of members to see how they feel about a 15-20 percent raise. My guess is that they would jump on it, but union leaders are not asking their opinion. They seem determined to go out on strike, probably just as school is set to begin in September.
Just for the record, the students of Chicago were never mentioned in the Tribune report about the labor talks. This is further proof that in union schools, they are frequently treated as afterthoughts while the adults fight over money.
And I thought schools existed for children. Silly me.