The Chicago Teachers Union today filed unfair labor practice charges against the Chicago Public Schools with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). The charges arose because CPS unlawfully imposed changes in working conditions – including canceling annual longevity pay increases (known as Step increases), discontinuing a longevity sick leave benefit, and imposing new teacher evaluation procedures beyond what is required by the new state teacher evaluation law known as PERA. State law prohibits employers from making changes in employment conditions while bargaining is ongoing, unless and until the parties reach impasse or a new agreement.
The charges come five days before more than 29,000 CTU members are schedule to walk off the job in demand of a fair labor contract. If contract negotiations have not settled by midnight September 9th, all teachers, counselors, school nurses and other education professionals will go on the strike.
CPS has imposed these changes because its contract proposals call for the elimination of Step increases and the longevity sick benefit, and imposing onerous teacher evaluation procedures. CPS is attempting to force these terms on teachers despite the fact that negotiations have not concluded and the CTU has not agreed to them.
Due to the seriousness of today’s charges, the CTU has requested the IELRB to seek a preliminary injunction ordering CPS to rescind these changes and restore to teachers the benefits that it unilaterally took away. Injunctive relief was previously granted by the IELRB on October 20, 2011, when CPS impermissibly tried to impose the longer school day on teachers without bargaining with the Union.
The Union’s charges also allege that CPS is refusing to arbitrate grievances, give the Union relevant information, and it has intimidated teachers who engaged in informational picketing at James Monroe Elementary School.
On August 29th, the CTU filed a strike notice and, unless there is an agreement on a new contract, the CTU has announced that it will commence the strike on September 10th. Due to CPS’s unlawful conduct, any strike that occurs will be converted to an unfair labor practice strike.