I want to extend congratulations to every member of the Chicago Teachers Union. Through our collective action, we fought for and won a tentative agreement for important changes to our CPS contract—changes that will make the lives of teachers, PSRPs, counselors, nurses, social workers, students, and parents better. Our one-page summary provides the highlights:

Download the Summary

It’s important to note that most of the wins in this document — especially the substantial raise for PSRPs, the enforceable class size limits, and more than 750 new staffing positions — were not on the bargaining table on the day that we decided to go on strike.

In fact, there were prominent voices in the city, especially in the pages of the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Times, calling on us to “Take The Deal.”

We resisted those pressures, and we compelled CPS to bargain over issues that they refused to even discuss during the 10 months of negotiations before we hit the picket lines. We secured a path to a nurse and a social worker every day in every school. We secured a five-fold increase in funds dedicated to reducing oversized classes. And we won additional resources for sports, Sustainable Community Schools, and students experiencing homelessness.

We will need to keep fighting some battles. I won’t pretend this TA solves every problem we’ve identified in our schools. I’m confident, however, that the balance sheet on this agreement shows significant progress—progress worthy of the sacrifice and the courage that every one of our members brought to this strike.

Ultimately, it is up to you, the CTU membership, to decide if you want to turn this tentative agreement into a new contract. The CTU Constitution mandates a ratification vote within ten (10) school days of the HoD’s vote to suspend the strike. Our union will hold the ratification vot, in accordance with the Constitution, on November 14 and 15, 2019. Details about the conduct of the vote will be sent to members next week.

To answer questions and hear from members about the tentative agreement, we will hold a Tele-Town Hall this Sunday:

Tele-Town Hall
Sunday, November 3
7:00–8:00 pm
CTU will call you

I’m proud of what our union achieved over the last two weeks. I’m
especially proud of the unity, the solidarity and the tenacity that CTU
members and our SEIU colleagues showed this city and the world.

And at long last, we are beginning to see movement at the state legislature to have an elected representative school board as well as to restore our right to collectively bargain and strike over staffing and class size.

I hope that you are able to take a break this weekend and celebrate what you accomplished. Rest, recover and reconnect with your students. Once we do have a ratified contract, there will be a new phase in which we make the most of our new rights by enforcing the contract in every school building across the city.

In unity and solidarity,

Jesse Sharkey