« New Research Points to Problems for Math Teachers | Main | Trayvon Martin Case Presents Opportunities, Risks for Teachers »

Chicago Teachers Union Threatens to Strike

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said union members are showing "overwhelming" support for a strike, according to the Chicago Tribune. CTU and the Chicago Public Schools have been in contract negotiations for four months and are still far from coming to an agreement.

The parties have been embroiled in conflict for a while now over the district's implementation of policies that extend the school day and tie teacher evaluations to student performance. In the current negotiations, according to the Tribune, the union has asked for a nearly 30 percent raise over two years—24 percent next year and 5 percent the year after—while the district is offering a 2 percent raise next year and then turning to a merit pay system. Lewis, not known for being reserved in her rhetoric, said, "I have never seen anything like this hostile climate that exists right now."

Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard said in a news conference, "It's unfortunate that the CTU will be talking about a strike when we know we have so much work we have to do within our schools."

Lewis claimed an informal poll of members at 150 schools indicates that nearly all teachers are ready to walk out. However, a new Illinois law has made a walkout difficult to initiate. At least 75 percent of all union members need to approve a strike, rather than a majority of voters as previously required. In addition, the law requires a series of steps—including a panel review and fact-finding process—be taken before a strike can occur, which would take at least four months to complete, pushing the possibility of a strike into the next school year.

Education policy expert Rod Estvan told the paper that membership "polling is also a negotiating tool on the part of the CTU to try to get a better offer."

If a strike were to take place, it would be the first in Chicago in 15 years.

CORRECTION: The last teacher strike in Chicago was in 1987—25 years ago. HT to a vigilant reader.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Advertisement

Most Viewed On Teacher

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments