• Press conference: TODAY, 11AM, Mon., Dec. 3: CTU HQ, 1901 W. Carroll, Chicago
  • If management forces a strike, Tues., 6:30 AM, Dec. 4, press conference: VMC/Veterans Memorial Campus (Garcia/Torres/Zizumbo schools), 4248 W. 47th St. on the picket lines with CTU officers, rank and file Acero members and AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Walk-out would be first strike of charter operator in U.S. history, as management stalls on key bargaining issues and new numbers show educators work 20% more than CPS district workers for vastly less pay.

CHICAGO, Dec. 3—UNO/Acero management continues to stall in negotiations with CTU members at 15 charter schools as a Tuesday strike date looms. That strike would be the first against a charter operator in the nation’s history. CTU President Jesse Sharkey will join UNO/Acero bargaining team members and allies today at 11AM to provide an update on contract negotiations and lay out next steps.

Management has stalled for months in releasing key financial documents that are required to be publicly available, despite repeated requests from the CTU for these documents.

UNO/Acero educators work hundreds of additional hours per year compared to educators in CPS-run district schools, while charter operators collect 8% more per student in funding than CPS schools under Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s so-called ‘student-based budgeting’ scheme, or SBB.

UNO/Acero Management has now come up with a new ‘proposal’—one which would still force UNO/Acero educators to continue to work, on average, more than 250 hours more and for upwards of over $13,000 less on average in the course of a school year than district educators. While management’s new proposal is slightly less bad than current workrules, the ‘offer’ puts the workload of UNO/Acero educators at over 20% greater than district educators, even after Emanuel unilaterally lengthened the school day for CTU district school members in 2012.

Emanuel refused to compensate CTU members for that increase, prompting the first strike against CPS in 25 years. CTU members at UNO/Acero schools argue that management’s salary gouging of educators parrots Emanuel’s exploitation of CTU district school educators.

At today’s press conference, the CTU will detail core issues on which members and management remain far apart. CTU members are pushing to reform the charter industry—including ending operators’ practice of siphoning millions of public dollars away from classrooms into management-run charter management operations, or CMOs.

The CTU is demanding smaller class sizes, increased special education funding, more autonomy over curriculum and grading, equal pay for equal work, additional resources for classrooms and students, and better compensation and treatment of paraprofessionals, who work for low wages despite their essential role in school communities.

The CTU is also demanding true sanctuary schools for UNO/Acero’s overwhelmingly Latinx students, and more diversity in the workforce, which has few Latinx or Spanish-speaking teachers. Management should remedy that by providing paraprofessionals—who management call ‘apprentices’—with a supportive path to the role of classroom teachers, and management must make a concerted effort to hire more teachers of color.

UNO/Acero CEO Richard Rodriguez earns more per year than CPS CEO Janice Jackson, while overseeing just under 8,000 students at 15 schools. Jackson is responsible for oversight of more than 500 schools and more than 350,000 students

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctunet.com.