SB7: What we’re up against in state law
In 2011, at the urging of anti-union leaders—including Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Rauner—the Illinois legislature passed SB7 – a bill specifically designed to weaken the CTU’s ability to bargain fair wages and working conditions fo r our members.
SB7 erected a series of procedural hoops that CTU has to jump through before we can exercise our right to strike over unacceptable contract proposals from CPS.
This law doubles down on section 4.5 of the IELRA, which limits our bargaining rights over certain subjects such as class size. SB7 applies ONLY to Chicago, denying our members rights enjoyed by teachers in every other school district in the state.
The hoops we jump through to comply with SB7
Among other things, SB7 requires that, before the CTU can strike over impasse in contract negotiations, CTU and CPS must:
- engage in “a reasonable period of mediation”;
- appoint a neutral fact-finder, who will issue a report with a recommended settlement of the contract within 75 days of his/her appointment;
- each accept or reject the fact-finder’s recommendation within 15 days,
- publish the fact-finder’s report to the public if either or both parties reject it;
- wait 30 days after the publication of the rejected fact-finder’s report;
- secure a vote of 75% of the bargaining unit authorizing a strike;
- and provide 10 days’ notice of the intent to strike.
All of these hoops were specifically designed to favor the boss and make it more difficult for us to exercise our collective strength and win improvements in wages and learning and working conditions.
Mediation and fact-finding to advance bargaining
SB7 does not speak to when mediation and fact-finding must begin. In our last contract negotiations, Rahm and CPS stalled negotiations for over a year and forced our members to work without a contract by REFUSING to start mediation and fact-finding.
In August of 2018, CPS signed a legally binding agreement with CTU wherein the parties agreed for a timeline for negotiation.
The agreement provides that—at the request of either party—mediation will commence on May 1, 2019, and fact-finding will commence on May 15, 2019.
This agreement served as a guarantee that we will be able to work through the SB7 process imposed upon us and conclude negotiations by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
We intend to hold CPS to that agreement—and we’re rallying on May 22 to demand that the incoming mayor keep her promise to bargain fairly with our members and support a school district built on real equity for our students—and real dignity for our members.
Strike-ready by the beginning of the school year
We’ve been jumping through these hoops for years, and we can do it again. We can be strike-ready at the beginning of the school year.
Organize your Contract Action Teams.
Use our online toolkit at www.ctulocal1.org/faircontract.
And be at the ‘Keep the Promise’ rally for a fair contract on May 22.