- 7:00 a.m. Monday., August 26: Press conference with CTU bargaining team
Suder Montessori School, 2022 W Washington Blvd, Chicago
Third round of mayorally imposed factfinding shows rigged nature of process, failure to address critical student needs and deteriorating working conditions.
CHICAGO—CTU bargaining team members, including union officers, will hold a press conference at 7:00 a.m. at Suder Montessori School, located at 2022 W. Washington Blvd., to formally respond to the fact-finder report, which is scheduled to be publicly released today. That formal response—either acceptance or rejection of the report—is one of a series of legally required steps in the negotiations process that former Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the state legislature imposed on the CTU in 2011.
If one party—either the CTU or CPS—rejects the factfinder’s report, the clock starts ticking on a possible strike. The union cannot strike sooner than 30 days after the factfinder report is officially published—and the report will be officially issued on Monday.
Educators return to school beginning on Monday. For students and staff at Suder, which like hundreds of other public schools has neither a librarian or a case manager for more than 50 special education students, there will be no staffing for those positions.
The mayor has reversed her promise to provide every school with a librarian, asserting it’s too expensive, even though she promised every school a librarian, school nurse and social worker in her educational platform as a candidate. But Lightfoot’s proposed FY2020 CPS budget cuts the number of desperately short-staffed social worker positions by three over positions budgeted for FY2019. Her budget cuts certified school nurses by over 12 percent—18 full positions, and cuts the number of budgeted librarians by 15 positions—over 12 percent, a number that the union charges is actually higher, since only 108 of those positions will be actually working in schools.
“CPS can and will expand services, staffing, and programs whether or not strict requirements are set in the contract,” Lightfoot’s office has said in a statement. But Lightfoot has already drawn fire from homeless advocates, grassroots groups calling for a CBA for residents near the Obama library, police accountability activists and immigrant rights activists for failing to keep her promises to those constituencies. CPS and the mayor’s office has a decades-long track record of making promises in political pronouncements—and failing to keep their word.
The CTU is demanding that Lightfoot put her promises for equity and real educational justice in writing, in an enforceable contract. Lightfoot has followed that path with legislation and city ordinances she’s jammed through to support the Lincoln Yards and ’78’ multi-billion dollar handouts, as have past mayors with the despised parking meter giveaway and privatization contracts that have left schools filthy and dilapidated. But Lightfoot has refused to put her promises for more staffing and education equity in writing in the union contract, which would allow the CTU to grieve failures and force CPS compliance through arbitration.