Victory at Passages Charter School
Educators at Passages Charter School won a tentative agreement today that enshrines in the contract key provisions that are still not settled in bargaining for educators at district-run schools. Among those are big wins on paraprofessional pay and rights as well as grievable protections for special education minutes and support. Bold action made these wins possible. When Passages educators learned that the charter operator was holding a fundraising gala Thursday, they threatened to confront donors with conditions in the school, forcing management to cancel the high-ticket gala. That direct action got the goods. Watch their video message to all their CTU family on YouTube.
As usual, the officers held an evening press availability to talk about bargaining. As President Sharkey related, our bargaining with the Board has gotten past aspects of the contract that were somewhat easier to bargain. We are now negotiating on the toughest parts, where we have the biggest disagreements. Talks were cordial, but there were no breakthroughs on questions like class size, staffing, prep time or PSRP wages—all of which members have told the bargaining team are critical.
For Jesse’s comments to the press, watch the video above. However, the most frank and open discussion of the state of bargaining has been in member spaces. First, our office posted a point-by-point summary of positions on the biggest issues in our contract. Check it out on the MemberLink Portal. After that, we held a TeleTown Hall with district members. If you weren’t able to join the call, we’ll provide a recording in MemberLink as soon it’s available. As Vice President Stacy Davis Gates pointed out during the call, we’ve now won a range of tentative agreements on issues that management had simply refused to bargain over before our union hit the picket lines. On the big outstanding issues, it will take our ongoing strength on the lines and in the streets to turn the tide and land an agreement.
Our bargaining team returns to the table Saturday, and negotiations will continue all weekend. Our strategy in the press, on the picket line and in the streets is designed to encourage the Board to compromise on these essential issues.
10:00am Family Fun at Union Park
As a celebration, a show of solidarity and a general pick-me-up from the exhilarating, but exhausting, work of bargaining and striking, the Chicago Federation of Labor has organized a day at Union Park. You’ll hear from the victorious Passages bargaining team at the rally This will be a family-friendly event for CTU, SEIU, Chicago Labor and all of Chicago!
Our members want to get as much information as possible, as soon as possible. Those include questions about the potential need for strike loans, health care and more. The CTU has a Strike FAQ page to provide some answers and links to other resources.
In addition, the union has set up a structure to pass information along and get speedy responses to questions. Members should always ask their delegate first. Delegates have access to Strike Captains, who can rely on their Field Organizers. This chain of information is a good way to get quick answers without going directly to CTU staff who have a lot on their plate coordinating activities on a citywide basis for 25,000 people. Staff will always do their best to provide you with information as quickly as possible, but asking up the chain may actually be a more efficient way to find out what you need to know.
Scammon steps it up
We have so loved all the videos of dance routines, cheers and songs to keep our picket lines up and exciting. The picket team at Scammon Elementary and their videographer, Mr. Lee, has upped the ante, so to speak, on these videos. We hope everyone enjoys tonight’s from-the-line video, “We do it for the K-I-D-S” as you kick off your weekend.