FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago Teachers Union Governing Body Supports Changes to SB7
At a regularly scheduled May 4, 2011 meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union’s governing body, the House of Delegates, with 600 of 800 members in attendance, approved a resolution by voice vote that directed the CTU to lobby state legislators “to remove the anti-union bargaining restrictions of the bill.”
“Our members have spoken clearly and decisively – they do not like this bill and demand changes to the language inserted during last-minute midnight maneuvers that restricted their collective bargaining rights,” said CTU President Karen Lewis.
CTU’s House of Delegates specifically called for the removal of Section 12(b) which states:
A dispute or impasse over any Section 4.5 subject shall not be resolved through the procedures set forth in this Act, and the Board, mediator, or fact-finder has no jurisdiction over any Section 4.5 subject. The changes made to this subsection (b) by this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly are declarative of existing law.
According to CTU attorney Robert Bloch, “The Section 12(b) amendment is a two-sentence atomic bomb that was slipped into the 110-page bill at the last minute. It sabotages union bargaining rights, blocks the Education Labor Board from enforcing the law, halts pending Labor Board trials, and allows Chicago Public Schools to tear up labor contracts it made on school issues found in Section 4.5 which pertain only to Chicago, such as class size, class schedules, pupil assessment policies and now the `length of the work and school day and length of the work and school year’.”
In addition to 12(b), the CTU House of Delegates called out Section 13(a)(2.10) requiring that 75% of all union members in the bargaining unit vote affirmatively to authorize a strike only in Chicago. According to Lewis, “For the rest of the state, that threshold is 51% of voters, not of members. A strike is the last option. It is a serious move. We’ll take the challenge of 75% versus 51%, but of members who participate in the voting process. Imagine if that was the requirement to win a seat in the State legislature?”
“Bargaining in good faith appears to be a bar set too high for these so-called education reformers – Advance Illinois, Stand for Children, Illinois Business Roundtable and their millionaire funders – who joined forces with the mayor-elect to steer the conversation, and the legislation, away from school improvement to an attack on unions and the children and families they serve. When you rob educators’ ability to bargain for true school improvement – safe schools with smaller class sizes, class offerings and how your school day is structured to meet your students’ needs – the quality of education available to all children is put at risk. CPS is an inequitable system. This bill does not change that basic travesty,” said Lewis.
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The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois.