Just as CPS has dragged its heels in bargaining while at the same time issuing backwards, ill-conceived and unworkable ‘guidance’ for remote learning in District schools, charter operators are also making dangerous or unworkable demands of workers and cutting their workforces, regardless of student needs. Scroll down for a quick snapshot of issues our CTU-ACTS members are confronting at some of the City’s most ignominious charter operators.
- UNO/Acero: The operator is expected to announce the layoff of of 13 apprentices (paraprofessionals) on Thursday. The operator has said the layoffs are not driven by financial concerns—they just don’t see the need for these jobs during remote learning. Our rank and file members had submitted a comprehensive list to management of vital work that paraprofessionals could perform, which management ignored. Members are considering next steps.
- CICS: Great actions by members Tuesday could not prevent CICS’ notoriously unaccountable board from voting to close CICS’ long-neglected and underfunded ChicagoQuest at the end of this year. CICS is currently hoarding $35 million in public education dollars that SHOULD have gone to support Black, working class, low-income students at CICS schools like ChicagoQuest. The board argued out loud in their Tuesday meeting that their bond ratings are more important than high school students. The CICS board also said the closure had been ‘in the works for months’—but they only notified parents last Friday, after recruiting another freshman class. Board members have demonstrated an appalling real-time example of the deficiencies of Chicago’s privatized education system, saying that the school which the board had been starving of resources for years simply didn’t fit with their shady financial plan.
- Latino Youth: The charter operator had insisted that members had to remotely educate students from INSIDE the school building, threatening to refuse to pay members if they didn’t work from school. Members refused, and instead have taught from home out of safety concerns. This week, management had to walk back that threat of wage theft—and will now our pay members all wages owed to them since they started remote learning from their homes.
- Namaste: The charter school has laid off PE and health and wellness teachers in a move the school bosses have said is “not financial”—they just don’t see the need for these jobs during remote learning. Sound familiar? Members are considering next steps.
- YCLA: In a positive development, CTU members at YCLA notched an important victory in financial re-opener negotiations, winning the largest wage increase since their first contract: a 6% raise for this year, retroactive to the start of this school year, and for next year a raise of 2-6% depending on enrollment.
Shout-outs to our charter school members, who are mounting powerful campaigns to challenge the abuses of charter operators in their schools, just as our rank and file members at District school communities are pushing back against CPS. We are one big union, our solidarity is powerful, and we’re not afraid to fight for what we know is right for our members, our students and our families.