What a week.
This week, mainstream media gave equal attention to a billionaire and millionaire endorsement of Paul Vallas (Ken Griffin and Willie Wilson) as the endorsement of our own Brandon Johnson by 45,000 workers from SEIU local 1. It is one example, of many, of the big money interests Brandon is up against. It’s also why the House of Delegates, by an overwhelming majority, authorized the transfer of up to $2 million for the 2023 municipal runoff elections.
Budget and Dues Neutral
Because of prudent financial decisions and the efforts to grow our membership, the decision has no impact on dues collections (dues stay the same) or union operations, which will be fully funded the rest of the year.
The HOD is constitutionally charged with setting and approving CTU’s annual budget. Delegates were informed that our budgets have been in positive territory. This year, we are projected to run a $1 million surplus.
Our efforts will help expose Paul Vallas’ real record as a privatizer, chaos creator, right wing extremist, and set the stage for a mayor and city council that will center partnership, negotiate in good faith on day one, pick a school board that reflects the needs of our school communities, and stop vouchers, retirement theft, and non-union charter expansion. The stakes are high, and our strong stewardship of CTU resources allows us to invest now to further advance our vision and mitigate the immense harms our school communities would face under a Vallas administration.
The House also passed an important resolution to honor Lloyd Newman and establish an annual event in his honor during Black History Month. Additionally, we scheduled a series of actions during the week of Earth Day (April 22nd) to lift up and push forward our demand for green, sustainable and fully resourced schools. Lastly, we agreed to campaign and negotiate with CPS to alleviate the double observation and evaluation whammy that many of our early childhood members unfairly endure.
Legislation Moved in Springfield
The CTU and our allied sponsors moved four important measures through the Illinois General Assembly committee deadline week this week. These bills will now go to the full House for consideration.
HB 1120 – Charter School Labor Peace Agreements, sponsored by Rep. Will Guzzardi
Private-sector employers like Starbucks, Amazon, and many charter school operators often engage in hostile and even illegal anti-union activities like captive audience meetings, firing workers sympathetic to unions, and a variety of other tactics. HB 1120 protects workers’ rights by requiring that any charter school that receives state funding must have a labor peace agreement as part of receiving those funds. Labor Peace Agreements (also called Neutrality Agreements) state that an employer may not state a position on whether workers choose to unionize and not engage in fierce anti-union tactics. Labor peace agreements have been successfully used at Chicago’s airports, the burgeoning Illinois cannabis industry, and a variety of other fields, and we’re now working on using this important tool in the charter school sector.
HB 2352– PSRP Return to work, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Evans
Under current law, retired PSRPs cannot be return to a school to substitute because their pensions would be reduced, unlike teachers, who can return as guest teachers without reducing their pensions. HB 2352 fixes this inequity by giving retired PSRPs the same right to return to work.
HB 3561 – Educator pipeline program in Chicago, sponsored by Rep. Lilian Jimenez
HB 3561 creates an educator pipeline program for nurses, paraprofessionals, and multilingual staff to attain new credentials and licensure, thereby helping to address staff shortages and stabilizing our schools.
HB 3570 – New Evaluation Data Assessment and Coaching Requirements, sponsored by Rep. Laura Faver Dias
Multiple studies of REACH in Chicago have shown that the evaluation system is stacked against teachers who work in schools with the biggest numbers of low-income students. But the State of Illinois has no comparable data on other districts. HB 3570 addresses this problem by requiring the State Board of Education to compare educator ratings to educators’ race and ethnicity and also to compare those ratings to the socio-economic status of their students. The bill also provides additional coaching to new teachers. Rep. Faver Dias is a former CTU member who taught history at Englewood HS and Westinghouse HS.