On November 15, CPS officials told the CTU they would ask the Board of Education vote to approve a new parental leave policy modeled on a similar policy available to city employees, starting on January 1st, 2023. The policy enables city workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave to address the needs of a new child via birth, adoption or fostering. Currently, CTU members are only guaranteed 1 to 2 weeks of paid leave, unless they are eligible for short term disability.
In December, CPS further committed to the CTU that they were working to nail down details about the policy. That included reviewing key provisions and creating an FAQ to detail and explain the new benefits – with CTU Field Representative Kathy Murray providing feedback on CPS’ draft FAQ for CTU members. CPS said they expected the new policy to be presented to the mayor’s hand-picked board of education for a vote in January.
Then the Department of Labor Relations reversed CPS’ position. Instead, Labor Relations now says CPS will be “reviewing” a “possible” policy change and that no decisions or recommendations would currently be forthcoming.
Only the Mayor could have approved this sudden policy change. To verify the interference, we’ve filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain all communication between Lightfoot’s office and CPS on this matter, while Stacy has written directly to the mayor to urge her to allow CPS to fulfil their commitment to extend paid parental leave to our members as promised. Be clear: this about-face is part of a pattern of behavior by Lightfoot to attack union educators. Over 75 percent of us are women — and ALL deserve access to this paid family leave. The majority of the developed world already offers 12 week parental leave as a recognition of this fundamental human right. The mayor and her CPS administrators are now delaying and denying benefits to CPS employees that were just granted to other city workers.
This is part of the mayor’s playbook to anyone that challenges her: rejection, retaliation and denial of equal rights. We’ve had to fight tooth and nail, lobbying legislators and even striking for basic provisions in our labor agreements, a pattern that we can expect to continue should Lightfoot win a second term. We intend to ratchet up public pressure around Lightfoot’s back-peddling, first by demonstrating our unity with the petition below demanding that she restore the promised benefits. We will deliver the signed petitions at a press conference on January 18 at the City Council meeting to expose this double standard.
We intend to ratchet up public pressure around this CPS back-peddling — starting with a petition to the mayor to reverse this terrible policy, as well as a public push to expose and end this unfair position. The City Council next meets on January 18, where we’re planning a press conference to expose this double standard and pressure the Mayor’s office to do the right thing.