CHICAGO–Fully 98% of educators at Acero ratified a new contract on June 8, ushering in a new era for the operator and its relationship with educators, their students and the educational community it serves. Also this week, 96% of educators at Chicago International Charter School (CICS) and 94% of educators at Christopher House voted to authorize a strike in the event that they can’t secure a fair agreement at the bargaining table. “This agreement stands as a model for what can be done when educators, school-related personnel, and management come together to do what is best for the students and families that they serve,” said CTU President Stacy Davis Gates.
CTU has settled a grievance over class size violations at ASPRIA resulting in $61,000 in awards for members. We are in preliminary discussions with CICS and Epic over reopening in the fall. And we are negotiating a fourth quarter reopening plan with Acero focusing on the importance of equity as well as safety.
Good news for CTU members at CICS Civitas who, just before Thanksgiving, received their proper raise and retroactive pay stemming from our strike. Not so good news at Latino Youth, where management has brought on the same big anti-union law firm CPS used to stonewall district negotiations. CTU-ACTS Chair Chris Baehrend authored a chapter about our historic charter strikes in the new book, Strike for the Common Good.
The CTU New Organizing Committee met with charter school educators interested in unionizing. CTU members at Aspira are strategizing how to deal with colocation efforts. Acero Sped and ELL educators participated in a Know Your Rights training and are beginning to reach out to parents. Negotiations on our first contract with Epic are expected to begin after Thanksgiving
Namaste is the latest charter school to experience a COVID-19 outbreak. After months of negotiations, and a request for a mediator, we are seeing progress in CICS-Civitas talks. Instituto Health and Science Career Academy is hiring a psychologist to comply with the CTU contract. Three laid off special education apprentices have been recalled at Acero, after members organized against the layoffs.
CTU leaders from Acero are fighting layoffs. The CTU New Organizing Committee and the Union’s Charter Division are both taking big steps. Meanwhile, Epic Academy and Namaste Charter School have each made important new agreements with the Union.
In a moment when the world is declaring that Black Lives Matter, we should not be cutting Black educators. CICS CEO Elizabeth Shaw has said that we all have to be committed to challenging systemic racism. And yet she and her organization are defunding a school that serves primarily Black students.
The results are overwhelming: 90 percent of rank-and-file educators at EPIC charter school have voted to unionize and join the CTU.