Supporting educators who were locked out

First and foremost, we owe great thanks to the rank-and-file educators who took personal risk to assert their own safety and led our fight around school reopening. Our greatest strength is in united action, but it often takes a brave few to step forward and inspire us all.

As we approached the limit of what we could win at the bargaining table, CPS would not agree to pay the money they rightfully owe to teachers who did their jobs remotely under electronic lockout. We realized that without dramatic escalation we could only win reinstatement and dropping of discipline. We will have to win back pay through different channels.

We are supporting locked out members through:

    • Winning wage theft claims through the grievance and legal arena

  • Interest-free hardship loans, to handle their bills until we win back pay

Winning Wage Theft Claims

Wage theft claims are some of the most straightforward and easily won grievances. They are backed by federal law and the criteria are clear. While locked out, members informed their supervisors and principals every day what actions they were taking to fulfill their job duties. It is illegal to withhold pay from employees who do their jobs. Members who had pay docked while locked out must fill out the wage theft grievance intake form at, if they haven’t already and then contact their field rep. Grievances can take some time to resolve, but we are very confident that every locked out member who reported their work to their administrators will be paid.

Interest-free Hardship Loans

The United Credit Union — with backing by the American Federation of Teachers — is granting interest-free hardship loans to any member docked pay for invoking their right to safety. Read the FAQ about applications. UCU members can apply for one of these loans using the loan application form.

We deeply thank these educators for their leadership in this struggle. At a time when CPS did its best to intimidate educators and crush our will to defend our rights, these leaders took a leap of faith. Because of their leadership our schools will be safer and more equitable. We will fulfill our promise to stand with them every step of the way.