Headshot of CTU Recording Secretary and PSRP for life Christel Williams-Hayes.Calling all PSRPs: it’s that time of year — the time when I encourage our clerks, instructional aides, tech cos and other PSRPs to serve in the House of Delegates and on our union committees. 

You may think I sound like a broken record, but this is such important work. The CTU’s rank-and-file committees map out the union’s strategy for the year. They identify challenges members face and devise strategies to solve them. Those ideas are often then taken to the HOD and, ultimately, to the bargaining table with CPS.

We need your voice and your heart to advance that work. 

As the frontline workers in our schools, our PSRPs know better than most what the building needs. You know the educators. You know the families and you know the school community. In fact, many PSRPs live in the communities they serve.

So who better to advocate for our students and their educators?

Our historic 2019 strike won an average 40 percent pay raise and educational lanes for PSRPs. Those were important gains that got their start with rank-and-file PSRPs sharing how difficult it was to make ends meet on a CPS salary. Our PSRP committee began devising proposed contract language to address inadequate salaries and our HOD approved including those provisions in our contract proposal to the district. 

I remember how during our strike, one of our PSRPs spoke emotionally at a press conference detailing his monthly bills and how little was left at the end of the month. He could barely pay his rent and feed his family, let alone save for a rainy day or to send his kids to college. Stories like his helped us win the pay raises and other benefits PSRPs have seen and will continue to see throughout our contract. 

We’re gearing up for another round of negotiations when our contract expires in 2024.  We want to build on the wins from 2019 and improve PSRP salaries and working conditions even further. Our PSRP committee and our PSRP delegates will play a central role in developing and shepherding those proposals through to the bargaining table.

Right now, we have several citywide, PSRP delegate positions open and nominations and elections are being held this month. Find full details here and consider serving as a PSRP delegate. 

Over the last decade, our union has been on a quest to raise up our PSRPs, so they get the salary, benefits and respect they deserve as essential frontline workers in our schools. We’ve made good progress but, as always, we still have a lot of work ahead. 

But we can’t do it without you. What issues are most important to you? What problems do you face in your schools every day? How can we better serve our students and their families?

Our PSRPs have those answers, and more. Now, It’s time to speak up. 

Christel Williams-Hayes is CTU Recording Secretary and a PSRP for life.