CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has entered into a service agreement with the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff Local 4343 (ChiACTS) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) to provide bargaining and grievance representation for ChiACTS members. As of September 1, 2015, the CTU became responsible for contract negotiations and contract enforcement for more than 1,000 ChiACTS members at 32 Chicago charter schools.
This transition sets the stage for greater collaboration in the Union’s efforts to improve the education of 400,000 Chicago public school students. The IFT previously provided these services to ChiACTS, which were transferred through a servicing agreement with the state union signed by officers of the CTU and ChiACTS.
“Our sisters and brothers in Local 4343 have fought extremely hard for unionization, and welcome the opportunity to represent them,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “This partnership will strengthen the work of both ChiACTS and the CTU, which will empower all of our educators and students in making their school buildings a better place to work and learn.”
For nearly a decade, the CTU, IFT and American Federation of Teachers have worked together to unionize teachers working in Chicago’s charter schools. During that time, nearly 20 percent of the teachers at Chicago charters have decided to form a union, which has become ChiACTS Local 4343. The CTU and ChiACTS have greatly deepened their work together over the years by planning shared conferences, showing solidarity for campaigns and developing joint strategies to address professional problems, charter expansion and school funding issues.
As the CTU and ChiACTS embark on a new phase of collaboration, Chicago charter schools will benefit from a focus on improving many of the issues affecting traditional neighborhood schools, such as poorly run outsourced services, increasing class sizes, attacks on special education and an abundance of standardized testing.
“This servicing agreement will strengthen the relationship our two unions have been building for years,” said ChiACTS President Brian Harris. “As teachers at charters and CPS both teach the same students, we need to work in solidarity in opposition to the agenda of the unelected school board in order to bring our students the schools they deserve.”