Gloria Austin devoted more than 20 years of her life to Chicago Public Schools as a citywide Head Start Resource Assistant, rarely taking a day off and only being tardy two days out of a decades-long career. On August 7, 2017, she was given notice that her position would not be available for the 2017-2018 school year and was laid off. Gloria decided to submit her retirement on August 16, 2017, having accumulated more than 213 sick days that, per our contract, should have been paid out.

She spent close to a year requesting her sick day payout. She was once told by the Board that because she was laid off first, then waited (all of nine days) to retire, her sick days would be forfeited, according to CPS policy. On another occasion, she was told that the Board had no documents of her retirement, yet she was receiving pension checks.

Gloria called the Chicago Teachers Union and I advised her to file a grievance. On June 28, 2018, she emerged victorious, receiving a final payment from the Board for more than $40,000.

She thanks the CTU Grievance Department for all of the work done on her behalf. She also recommends that members take good notes and document all of their dealings with the Board when problems arise.

This article appears in the September 2018 issue of the Chicago Union Teacher.