A key part of protecting our rights and enforcing our hard-won contracts is challenging management when they violate our bargaining agreements — and fighting these cases all the way through the arbitration process when necessary to secure and reinforce our rights. We wanted to share information about two important recent arbitration wins that protect our members in both the charter and district spaces.

Back wages for District employee:

The Union recently secured a favorable settlement in the arbitration of a grievance filed on behalf of Jeremy Cragin, a P.E. teacher at Courtenay Elementary School.

CPS offered Mr. Cragin a position at Courtenay at the end of February 2020. Based upon the offer, he put in his two weeks’ notice at his then-current job. Mr. Cragin completed the employee screening and background check processes just before schools were closed at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.

On March 23, 2020, CPS notified Mr. Cragin that the hiring process of any candidate in the onboarding process would be delayed until after the Covid-19 closure of schools had ended. Mr. Cragin was eventually staffed at the end of April 2020, but lost wages in the interim because of the delay.

Under the settlement, Mr. Cragin will receive $3,141 to compensate him for his losses.

ChiARTS compensation for additional COVID duties:

Last year, ChiArts failed to allow early release for about 20 members who were entitled to early release under our CBA and the Resumption of In-Person Learning MOU, because these members had taken on additional lunch supervision duty.

The arbitrator disagreed with management, sustaining our grievance that the Employer violated Section 4-4 of the CBA and Section 11(g) of the MOU by requiring teachers who performed three or more lunch supervision shifts in a week during the 2021 – 2022 school year to remain at school until 2:00 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays.

The arbitrator ruled that the employer “shall make all affected teachers whole by paying them at the sub rate of pay for the additional time they had to remain at school up to 2:00 p.m. on Mondays and/or Fridays. The teachers must receive the sub rate of $6.25 per 15 minutes of coverage for all work performed beyond 1:00 p.m. or beyond 1:45 p.m., depending upon the individual teacher’s actual service.”

Under the terms of the award, we expect that the 20 impacted members will receive payments of between $100 and $1,200, depending on how many additional lunches they supervised.

Fighting for our members’ rights:

These arbitration wins represent great work by our member leaders, legal eagles and field staff — and powerful examples of why fighting employer wrongdoing matters. If you’ve got a concern about contract violations in your school community, reach out to your field rep — find your school community’s field rep at this link.

And speaking of our field reps, shout-outs to CTU Field Rep Gynette Baker, who helped members jumpstart the newly formed PPC at Shoop Elementary (pictured left to right: Delegate Laura Logan, teacher Samantha Walston, clerk Samantha Meaderds, teacher Candice Metzger, and teacher Doreen Beyah-Emery).

With infectious energy and encouragement, Gynette helped the staff re-establish their union structures after a period of dormancy. Laura Logan stepped up after everyone sung her praises at the union meeting. Four co-workers also signed up to be co-leaders on the Professional Problems Committee and alternate facilitation to ensure that they distribute leadership and responsibilities to each other and their other colleagues. The group quickly got to work by wearing red and preparing to raise collective concerns at their next scheduled PPC meeting. A big shout out to Gynette, Laura, and all the members at Shoop for being CTU Strong.

Our unity is our most powerful strength, and together when we fight, we win!