Photo of member of the Citywide PPC reviewing contract proposals at CTU.

The Citywide Professional Problems Committee (PPC) has convened regularly to review close to a thousand contract proposals as we prepare to bargain a new contract with the Board. These proposals, written and submitted by our CTU committees and individual members, represent a robust and transformative vision for the future of Chicago. We have had more than 500 rank-and-file members engage in this process during more than 60 different committee meetings, more than ever before. The excitement in the room has been palpable as we discuss and debate ideas that have the potential to reshape our schools for years to come. 

As written in the CTU Bylaws, Article XII, the Citywide PPC’s responsibilities are to “develop a list of collective bargaining proposals” and to “recommend strategy and procedure for the accomplishment of the CTU’s collective bargaining goals.” We are currently working hard to prepare the list of draft proposals for the March House of Delegates meeting. During that meeting, all delegates will together have the responsibility of discussing and adopting the final list of bargaining proposals. 

Who’s on the Citywide PPC?

Citywide PPC member Jeannine Woods speaks with five other PPC members seated around a table with her. They are discussing potential contract demands, as they all consult stapled documents with sections variously highlighted in red, green and yellow. In the middle of the table is a spiral bound version of our current contract. In the background, you can see several round tables with similar group discussions happening simultaneously.Members of the Citywide PPC include all elected Functional Vice Presidents of the CTU. This cycle, the committee has also been advised by chairs of our rank-and-file member-led committees that submitted proposals. These member committees have contributed their knowledge of member experiences across all aspects of our working lives to this contract proposal cycle in a profound way. Our citywide PPC process has included a diverse group of more than 60 rank- and-file members of our union. Our small working group sessions have intentionally grouped members from different job categories in conversation with one another to discuss various proposals. 

Reflecting on the range of perspectives and experiences in the room, Early Childhood Committee Chair Diane Castro commented: “As an early childhood educator and chair of the Early Childhood Committee, the opportunity to engage in conversations around what is important for PSRPs, clinicians, high school educators, guest teachers, etc, has made me appreciate what our members are ready to fight for. This creates that sense of unity and solidarity that will build the momentum for our contract campaign.”

Make no mistake, this work is a colossal undertaking. We are reviewing a huge volume of complex and interrelated member proposals. For this reason, we have created a thorough process that both lifts up democratic decision making and maintains a high level of structure and organization. Key features of our process have included:

  • A set of strategic criteria on which to base our analysis of each proposal.
  • Presentations by small groups to recommend proposals for adoption and suggestions on how others might be revised.
  • Time for comments, questions, and debate – ending with a vote for proposal adoption. 
  • Adopted proposals go to the HOD for official approval.

The work continues and will only become more complex. That’s why we will need ongoing discussions throughout the bargaining process about our priorities and strategy. How might we transform our school communities? What are the proposals that have the best potential to transform our schools and communities? Which are most viable? Which unite us?

Stay tuned as the citywide PPC process winds down and look out for the finalized proposals in advance of the March HOD meeting. We’ve got plenty more to do. Let’s get it CTU! 

Josh Lerner is the delegate at Peirce Elmentary School and serves as chair of the Citywide PPC.