As Mayor Lightfoot’s ultimatum halts actual bargaining, today coaches from around the city testified to the CPS bargaining team about the lack of equity and investment in sports citywide. Their moving narratives about students not having transportation, resources, uniforms or coaching staffs to put them on a fair footing with teams in the suburbs moved our bargaining team.
After two days of striking, our bargaining team was beginning to see glimmers of progress on issues that matter to our members. Today, on day three, that progress stopped dead. It was clear from the mayor’s letter to the press demanding members go back to work without a contract and from the sudden atmosphere of stonewalling from the CPS team, that the mayor had pulled the plug on negotiations.
The Chicago Teachers Union invited city resident and skilled international negotiator the Rev. Jesse. L Jackson to negotiate a settlement on Monday, October 21. Rev. Jackson, president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, attended a bargaining session recently and spoke with both union and district officials about the lowering of class size, providing more wraparound services and urged a swift settlement.
Progress was made on Sunday, including new tentative agreements around supports for homeless students, ensuring legally required staffing ratios of 1 adult per 10 students in pre-K, as well as naps for full-day pre-K classes. We won language that counselors would not be pulled from counseling to do other duties such as subbing in a classroom.
Progress at the table today, especially on a charter moratorium and on pipeline for hiring more teachers of color. Big remaining issues around pay and benefits, enforcement mechanisms for class size and staffing, teacher preparation time and duration of the contract. Other issues remain, but those are the priority areas where progress is needed.
The Board of Education brought its first paper proposals on staffing, thanks to pressure brought by strike, picketers and supporters. This opens a path to resolution on these issues, but the offers are far from adequate. More issues remain open, with no response from the Board.
At bargaining today, CPS handed our bargaining team its first written proposal on class size. Rank and file bargaining team members and CTU’s Chief of Staff Jennifer Johnson related the limited progress and the remaining issues discussed today to reporters this evening.
Bargaining continues Wednesday as the Union confronts chronic disconnect between mayor’s spin and CPS stalling at the bargaining table.