- 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 8: Press conference, Soto high school, 5025 S. St. Louis Ave., Chicago
- 1 PM, Sunday, Dec. 9: Rally with Acero strikers, CTU HQ, 1901 W. Carroll, Chicago
Acero CEO embraces equal pay for himself and CPS CEO—but refuses to embrace equal pay for educators, say legislators, who call management’s ULP charges a press stunt by a desperate CEO.
CHICAGO—As UNO/Acero teachers and paraprofessionals continue to strike and bargain for a fair contract, prominent Latinx elected officials will gather to demand that UNO/Acero CEO Richard Rodriguez settle a fair contract with workers or resign.
At 10:00 a.m. today, Saturday, December 8, those elected officials will hold a press conference at Soto High School, an Acero school located in Gage Park at 5025 S. St. Louis Ave., to condemn CEO Rodriguez’ false claims against strikers and foot-dragging at bargaining—and to demand that he either negotiate a fair contract with educators or step down.
Those attending will include 4th District Congressman-elect Jesus Garcia, State Representatives-elect Delia Ramirez and Aaron Ortiz, State Rep. Celina Villanueva, 22nd Ward aldermanic candidate Michael Rodriguez, 22nd Ward Alderman Ricardo Muñoz, Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya, 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Rosa, 10th Ward Alderman Sue Garza, and State Senator Omar Aquino.
CTU educators have been on the picket line for four days—with a growing number of parents and students joining them—as their bargaining team has been almost constantly at the table. Charter boss Richard Rodriguez, the CEO, continues to call the shots only remotely, and has been a no-show at every bargaining session in the last seven months.
Instead, Rodriguez has repeatedly rejected efforts at the bargaining table from afar to fully resource and stabilize our school communities—depriving students of a quality education.
Educators’ demands are simple and reasonable: lower class sizes for students, sanctuary for students and other members of our school community, and fair compensation for educators, especially teacher assistants and other support staff.
There has been some progress at the bargaining table. Rodriguez and Acero management admitted in their unfair labor practice claim late Friday that they had agreed to CTU demands for sanctuary schools, culturally relevant curriculum, and restorative justice practices only BECAUSE educators had walked out on strike.
Rodriguez has long been linked to the HDO—the Hispanic Democratic Organization—a clout-heavy patronage outfit created by former mayor Richard Daley that collapsed in the wake of political scandal. While Rodriguez has no educational background, he’s run the charter network since 2015—including as it rebranded from UNO first to UNSC and then to Acero last year, part of the charter operator’s own effort to try to shed the taint of scandal that rocked UNO in 2013 and forced out its founder, political heavyweight Juan Rangel.
Rodriguez is paid more as CEO of Acero’s 15 schools than CPS CEO Janice Jackson earns to run more than 500 public schools. Educators have demanded parity with their fellow educators in CPS—a standard Rodriguez has flatly rejected. Wages for UNO/Acero paraprofessionals can be as low as barely 10 percent of Rodriguez $260,000 annual salary.
On Friday, 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke sat down with a delegation of educators and parents who asked him to push Rodriguez to stop stalling at the bargaining table, with Burke pledging his support.