HB 2275 will restore bargaining rights to CTU and all other CPS unions that were eliminated by the 1995 amendatory act. Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly have passed it. IL House Speaker Welch needs to send the bill now to Governor Pritzker so he can sign it. Write them both and your state representative to urge action as soon as possible on this bill which can impact the safe reopening agreement under negotiation now between CTU and CPS.
Get your state senator’s phone number. Call and tell them to “Vote Yes on HB2275 and restore CTU’s bargaining rights.” Then call Senate President Don Harmon at 708-848-2002 and tell him to call the bill and vote Yes!
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General CTU Announcement
The marches will begin Saturday in the South and West side neighborhoods where many schools are slated for closing and culminate in a rally Monday afternoon outside City Hall.
The marches "will continue to unite us, make us stronger and help us focus for the long haul," CTU President Karen Lewis said at a news conference outside Mayo Elementary, one of the schools CPS wants to close.
Details of the marches were not laid out, and it will be up to the individual school communities to decide how they want to participate, Lewis said.
"Every school has a different way of showing solidarity," she said.
After months of hearings and numerous protests by the CTU and others, the school board's vote on the plan to close 53 elementary schools and one high school program is scheduled for May 22.
The union insists that not a single school be closed.
Last week, hearing officers hired by school officials objected to 13 of the proposed closings. The district's plan is unpopular among residents — a Tribune/WGN-TV poll found that 59 percent of Chicago voters don't approve of the school closings proposal.
"This is not all teachers involved with this protest," the Rev. Robert Jones of Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church said at Monday's news conference, where parents, activists and school employees also took turns at the microphone. "It is a community protest that is united with the teachers at every level."
The Chicago Teachers Union will be holding elections Friday, and it's expected that Lewis and her Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, or CORE, ticket will retain leadership for a second term.
In addition to the marches, the CTU plans to bus protesters to Springfield to fight the closings and will picket an undisclosed Wal-Mart site in protest of the Walton Family Foundation's donations, which helped fund some community meetings earlier this year on school closings.
"We are going to continue to educate Chicago and the entire nation about these misguided corporate school reforms," Lewis said.
Responding to CTU's announcement, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said in a statement that the district "is determined to upend the status quo that threatens to keep another generation of our children trapped in under-resourced, underutilized schools where they are not getting the quality education they deserve."
Mayo, where the CTU news conference was held, is one of the 13 schools whose closing was criticized by a retired judge serving as a hearing officer in state-mandated public hearings. The hearing officer's report said CPS' transition plan for Mayo students fails to adequately address special-needs students.
While fighting the district's plan right up until the vote, the CTU earlier announced a longer-term effort that will include a voter registration campaign and political recruitment aimed at ousting Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other elected officials who supported the closings.