Our House of Delegates met tonight and discussed a number of important issues we want to summarize for you. (For more details, please talk to your CTU delegate and be sure to attend your school’s next union meeting.)
Executive Board Vacancies Election
One of the first orders of business at the meeting was the election of members to fill Elementary Functional Vice President vacancies on our Executive Board. We congratulate the following candidates who were elected and appreciate all the candidates who took the time to run for these important union positions. The meeting elected Rogelio Aguilar, Diane Castro, Joyce Jefferson, Vicki Kurzydlo and Jeannine Woods. At the December meeting we will hold a runoff election between Michelle Correa and Wendy Weingarten.
Contract Campaign Survey
In this historic moment, we are beginning to organize to transform public education in a visionary and liberatory way. We want to know your central concerns to help identify the key priority areas for our next contract with CPS. Please encourage all your colleagues to take our contract campaign survey at ctulocal1.org/survey. Do it together at your next union meeting and we will share the results at the December HOD meeting.
School Leaders Conference: Contract Campaign Kick Off
Good news! Intermediate Agreements and Progress
We are happy to report that we’ve been able to reach agreements with CPS on several important issues that have been of concern to members for years. We have resolved the problem of shorted paychecks over the Thanksgiving holiday. You will now receive a nine-day paycheck instead of a smaller seven-day check during the holiday season. And, because we have restored our full bargaining rights, we will be able to negotiate other member-directed changes to our academic and payroll calendar as part of our next contract.
We also are pleased to report that our retired PSRPs will now be able to work as substitute teachers, not just substitute PSRPs, an agreement that will help resolve the staffing shortages that continue to plague our schools. And we reached an agreement that will provide important benefits to new job positions that join our bargaining unit.
Finally, our union continues to grow to meet the needs of our students. Our 2019 contract added nearly 1,000 additional active members compared to the same time five years ago. Among these new members are 42 full-time STLS advocates now in CPS at schools with 150+ students in temporary living situations. This is a direct result of the rank-and-file organizing, the striking and the political activity you have done to support our vision for the schools Chicago children deserve.
The right wing is pulling out all the stops to extend Illinois’ private school voucher scheme, Invest in Kids, which is scheduled to sunset at the end of the year. We are continuing to call on lawmakers to reject those pleas and need all members to contact their legislators. Two things you can do to protect public school funding:
- Go to ctulocal1.org/vouchers to send a message to your elected officials.
- Join us for a lobby day in the capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 8. (Working members may need to use a personal business day.)
We also need to ramp up pressure on the Chicago City Council to pass the Bring Chicago Home ordinance, which would create a dedicated funding stream to address homelessness in the city. Use this link to send a message to your alderperson.
First the good news. We have reached an historic agreement with Christopher House that provides class size limits, a shortened school day, seven weeks paid parental leave, a salary schedule on par with CPS and an 8 percent pension pickup.
But we are still fighting at several charters, including ASPIRA, Namaste, and Instituto del Progresso Latino, where the entire SPED department quit at the beginning of the year and the charter operator is pushing for a package of unacceptable concessions.
Delegate Support for Newcomer Students
Delegates responded overwhelmingly to two poll questions at tonight’s meeting related to union support for newcomer students and their families:
Question 1: Should CTU continue to affirm our support for newcomers, their families and continue our fight for increased resources that will help our schools experiencing the biggest influx of newcomers: staffing, such as bilingual and non-bilingual TAs, social workers, reduced ELPT ratios, trauma informed professional development, curriculum resources and other staff supports?
Question 2: Should CTU continue to support immigrant rights and support efforts by local community organizations to make President Biden expand work permits to our undocumented CPS families, and make demands at the state and federal level?
Action Items Passed at Tonight’s Meeting
- Teach indigenous history, homelessness awareness, about the migrant crisis, instead of Skyline on November 15.
- Social-Emotional Learning supports for students and staff in times of world conflict.
- Sign onto United Electrical Workers’ Solidarity Letter calling for human rights, for the release of all hostages, and for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine.