News and Notes

CTU explains why CPS must prioritize healthy, safe, green schools

Photo of CTU President Stacy Davis Gates speaking at CTU’s first ever public bargaining session with CPS.

CTU President Stacy Davis Gates speaks at the first ever public bargaining sessions with CPS.

More than 1,800 people tuned into the CTU-CPS public bargaining session on “Healthy, Safe, Green Schools” Friday night via the livestream, and nearly 150 people attended in person at Marquette School of Excellence for the first of up to six public bargaining sessions during contract negotiations.

Given that the average age of a CPS school building is 84 years old, CTU members are making healthy, safe, green schools a top priority in our contract negotiations. Our schools need to be updated and modernized so our students can have the learning environment they need to be successful.

In Friday night’s bargaining session, CTU members, community stakeholders, and parents told CPS what students are experiencing in their classrooms and school communities. Read more and watch the public bargaining session.

Photo of community members listening to the public bargaining session.

Community leaders and CTU members are in the audience to listen to presentations at public bargaining.


We Care members win funding for next year

Illinois lawmakers left Springfield this year without renewing funding for our We Care new teacher mentor program, which has mentored more than 1,000 primarily Black and Brown early career educators over the last three years. But CTU members wouldn’t let this vital program come to an end. We rallied in Springfield for the program along with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association and made preserving it a fundamental part of our May 15 Lobby Day demands.

Your tireless advocacy worked: we pushed the Illinois State Board of Education to do the right thing and provide funding to maintain We Care for another year. Thanks to all who helped advocate for this vital program.


Keep up the pressure on CPS, elected officials

CTU members, including Financial Secretary Maria Moreno, pose with Gov. J.B. Pritzer in the state capitol.

We have a historic opportunity to transform our schools, but we must keep the pressure on lawmakers, Gov. Pritzker and CPS to do right by our members and our students. The state of Illinois itself acknowledges CPS is $1 billion under-funded. Yet, lawmakers left Springfield in May without addressing that shortfall. How can you get engaged in our contract fight and push for funding?


CTU working to finalize protections for displaced PSRPs

Photo of CTU staff members at a CPS job fair.

CTU Field Reps Michael Smith and Tanesha Rawls assisting members at the CPS job fair.

We are in the process of finalizing an agreement with CPS to create, for the first time ever, a layoff prevention pool for PSRPs. This will guarantee that laid off CTU PSRPs will suffer no loss in salary next year and will receive full pay and benefits as they secure school placements and positions, similar to how the Reassigned Teachers Pool works for laid-off tenured teachers under our CBA.

Last week, CTU staff members attended the CPS Job Fair to answer questions and assist recently laid off members. Field representatives also had an opportunity to meet new teaching candidates and discuss the importance of union membership to future CPS employees. Please reach out to your field rep if you have questions about the retention pool.


ICYMI: What’s ahead for us? We decide.

Read President Davis Gates’ letter to CTU members. In these first few weeks of summer break, CTU President Stacy Davis Gates encourages members to get some rest, self care and enjoy some quality time with family friends because CTU will need you this summer. We’ve changed the playing field, but still face big challenges: convincing the state to fully fund education, campaigning for and electing pro-public education school board members, and forging partnerships with new allies.


Educators, parents fight Acero layoffs

Members and parents pose for a photo outside of the Acero board meeting.

Acero Charter Schools has laid off special education teachers across its network of 15 schools and cut vacant sped positions, leaving nine schools out of sped compliance for the 24-25 school year. And additional layoffs due to classroom closures are expected. CTU members and Acero parents (pictured above) attended the Acero Board meeting last week at Idar Elementary to fight back against the cuts to our most vulnerable student population. We’re standing in solidarity with our members at Acero Charter Schools!


Honoring this year’s dedicated retirees

Photos of CTU retirees with President Stacy Davis Gates at this year’s retiree lunheon.

Last week CTU hosted the annual Spring retiree luncheon. Several newly retired educators were celebrated and honored at the event. President Stacy Davis Gates thanked the new retirees for their years of service and dedication and congratulated them on their next chapter. View photos from the event here.


We’re hiring: Lead field rep

Working under the direction of the Field Staff Director, this position will help to coach departmental staff in addressing contract violations and helping members to organize and challenge abusive working conditions and bosses. We are looking for someone with excellent knowledge of the CTU/CPS contract, polices and procedures and who is passionate about union rights and educational issues. Read more.


Celebrating Juneteenth, Freedom Day

Graphic celebrating Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is independence day for our country. Although it has been long (and only) celebrated in the Black community and most notably in Texas, it is now a nationally observed holiday. Juneteenth is a celebration of liberation marking the end of the enslavement of Black people in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was the government’s response to enslaved Africans freeing themselves throughout our divided and war-torn country.

Even with the proclamation, there were more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the then Confederate state of Texas that wouldn’t be free until years later. Contrary to the popular retelling of our Black liberation, emancipation was a process. It was a process where self-determined Black people claimed their freedoms, thereby forcing both the Union and Confederate governments to recognize their humanity. The process of emancipation was both violent and long.

Freedom for enslaved Black people in Texas finally came June 19,1865, when U.S. Army General Gordon Granger was forced to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation. General Order No. 3 ended legalized slavery in Texas and helped establish the framework for Black Americans’ claim for reparations. The order puts forth the claim for the formerly enslaved Africans right to “absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”

Juneteenth is a celebration that marks the end of enslavement for all Black people in our country and the beginning of the fight for reparations.

This week, we remember and celebrate the struggle and the triumphs of our ancestors. Their sacrifices forced our great country to live up to its promise of liberty.

Our work continues. We must redouble our efforts to eradicate the gross inequities in our city. We must challenge the segregation that foments the disparities and traumas so many of our families suffer through. We must repair the historical harms done to the Black community. CTU will continue to be a leader and ally in the fight for the freedoms our people deserve.


This Pride Month, labor movement is proud to be part of the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights

Multi-colored graphic celebrating 2024 Pride month.

June is a month of celebration and reflection for our LGBTQIA+ community. Stemming from the commemoration of the Stonewall riots of 1969 — when the LGBTQIA+ community took to the streets to protest unfair treatment — what began as a one day observance evolved into a month-long global celebration for LGBTQIA+ and allies.

In today’s climate, the reignition of the labor movement nationally and here in Chicago has LGBTQIA+ workers at the forefront. Illinois remains one of just 18 states that offer extensive protection and rights to LGBTQIA+ workers. But our work is not yet done.

Our contract proposals include LGBTQIA+ and gender affirming asks that would benefit students and educators, including:

  • Gender affirming and inclusive healthcare coverage that is clearly communicated to staff and included in the health insurance handbook.
  • Clearly defined gender-neutral bathroom policy codified in the CBA.
  • More queer competent, trained service providers such as nurses, social workers, counselors, clinicians, etc. to assist and support staff, students and the school community as a whole.

Happy Pride month! Let’s stand together to demand equal rights for our LGBTQIA+ siblings and communities.


Discounted pet insurance now available for CTU members

Through CPS, members can now receive a 20 % discount on Spot Pet Insurance. The insurance covers dogs and cats with no age or breed restrictions. With a Spot plan, you can go to any licensed vet, emergency clinic, or specialist in the U.S. or Canada and receive up to 90% cash back on eligible accident and illness bills. Several plan options are available. Learn more, get a quote, and enroll at spotpet.link/cps. Also check out Spot’s FAQ or call 800-905-1595 and use code EB_CPS.


Tuition discount for CTU members

Tuition discount for CTU members! Earn your reading teacher endorsement or MA in Literacy Education / Reading Specialist License at Northeastern Illinois University with 33% off tuition. Application deadline for Fall: July 15. Click to sign up or email Dr. April Nauman at A-Nauman@neiu.edu.


Notices

June 26: Fighting antisemitism

Safety through solidarity: A radical guide to fighting antisemitism conversation at 7pm on June 26 at Women and Children First bookstore, 5233 North Clark Street, Chicago. Sponsored by In These Times, Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago, If Not Now Chicago and the CTU.

Join In These Times magazine, Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago, If Not Now Chicago and the Chicago Teachers Union for a conversation about antisemitism and movement building with Shane Burley and Ben Lorber, authors of Safety Through Solidarity: A Radical Guide to Fighting Antisemitism. Get more information here.


June 27: Early childhood contract webinar

Join us to learn how our contract demands will support early childhood educators and their students and how you can help us secure a new contract that transforms our schools. Join us on Zoom, Thurs., June 27, at 6:30 p.m. Register for the webinar.


July 6: Save the date! South Side Pride Festival

Multicolored flyer for the South Side 2024 Pride Festival.

The Right to Pride is the theme of this year’s Pride South Side Festival, July 6, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the DuSable, 740 E. 56th Pl. CTU will have a tent at the festival, which boasts entertainment, food trucks, and activities for all ages. Learn more and RSVP.


Members corner

In memoriam, May 2025


Do you want to give a shout out to one of your colleagues? Send your blurb (one to four sentences) to communications@ctulocal1.org for consideration in an upcoming Members Corner.


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